Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
PHD105 (AF:340595 AR:181342)
ECTS credits
Degree level
Corso di Dottorato (D.M.45)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
The course provides theoretical and empirical tools to improve students’ understanding of the behavioral approach to decision making processes and subjective well-being, with particular emphasis on strategic interaction, information cascades, survey experiments, determinants of life satisfaction, and nudging. Behavioral economics and experimental economics are modern fields of research that highlight and seek to rationalize the main discrepancies observed in economic choices and behaviors. During lectures, we will implement “pen and paper” experiments and discuss the corresponding results by looking at the existing literature.
The student must be able to give behavioral interpretation to puzzling economic outcomes.
No prerequisite is required to attend the course.
Introduction: why behavioral economics and experimental economics? Tips and tricks in experimental economics
Information cascades
Coordination problems and focal points
Voluntary contribution to public goods, incentives and multiple projects
Subjective well-being and life satisfaction: introduction
Determinants of life satisfaction: measurement issues and survey experiments
Behavioral economics meets policy makers: cognitive biases and nudging
A field experiment on breast-cancer screening
Handbook of Experimental Economics, 1997, J. H. Kagel and A. E. Roth (eds), Princeton University Press. Ch. 1, 2, 3, 8.3.

+ Slides used in class

Additional references:

[Information Cascades]

Anderson, L. R. and Holt, C. A. (2008). Information Cascade Experiment. In Handbook of Experimental Economics Results (Vol.1. Ch. 39).

Bikhchandani, S., Hirshleifer, D. and Welch, I. (1998). Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3), 151–170.

Corazzini, L. and Greiner, B. (2007). Herding, social preferences and (non-)conformity. Economic Letters, 97, 74-80.

[Non selfish preferences, public goods and incentives]

Cooper, D. J. and Kagel, J. H. (2013). Other-Regarding Preferences: A Selective Survey of Experimental Results. To appear in the Handbook of Experimental Economics, Vol 2, J. H Kagel and A. E Roth (eds), Princeton University Press.

Bernasconi, M., Corazzini, L., Kube, S., and Marechal, M. (2009). Two are Better than One! Individuals’ Contributions to Unpacked Public Goods. Economics Letters, 104(1), 31-33.

Corazzini, L., Faravelli, M., and Stanca, L. (2010). A Prize to Give for: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms. Economic Journal, 120, 944–967.

Corazzini, L., Cotton, C., and Valbonesi, P. (2015). Donor Coordination in Project Funding: Evidence from a Threshold Public Goods Experiment. Journal of Public Economics, 128, 16-29.

Corazzini, L., Cotton, C., and Reggiani, T. (2020). Delegation and Coordination with Multiple Threshold Public Goods: Experimental Evidence. Experimental Economics, forthcoming.

[Life Satisfaction]

Angelini, V., Cavapozzi, D., Corazzini, L., and Paccagnella, O. (2014) Do Danes and Italians Rate Life Satisfaction in the Same Way? Using Vignettes to Correct for Individual-Specific Scale Biases. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 76(5), 643-666.

Angelini, V., Beroni, M., and Corazzini, L. (2017). Unpacking the Determinants of Life Satisfaction: a Survey Experiment. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society - A, 180(1), 225-246.

Dolan, P., Peasgood, T., and White, M. (2008). Do we really know what makes us happy? A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29, 94–122.

Frey, B. S. and Stutzer, A. (2002). What can economists learn from happiness research? Journal of Economic Literature, 40, 402–435.


Bertoni, M., Corazzini, L., Robone, S. (2017). The Good Outcomes of Bad News: A Field Experiment on Formatting Breast Cancer Screening Invitation Letters. American Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming.

Thaler R.H., Sunstein C.R. (2008), Nudge. Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
The evaluation will be based on an assignment to be handled by the student at the end of the course.
Lectures and individual study.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 06/08/2020