The Lab is aimed at introducing students with the study of behavioral economics, a fruitful research field that combines economic principles of decision making with elements of the psychological architecture.
In particular, after discussing the main behavioral and evaluative biases that are found to be empirically relevant in economics, we will focus on nudging. Nudging includes all the policy interventions that are potentially able to modify behaviors by levying on systematic psychological biases. In order to be classified as a nudge, the intervention must satisfy three conditions: (i) it must be a (almost) 0-cost intervention; (ii) it does not have to rely on incentives and fines to sustain correct behaviors; (iii) it must be asymmetric, in that it should affect “wrong” behaviors only.
We will discuss many concrete applications of nudging, including the results of a recent field experiment on the participation in the national breast cancer screening program.