Thursday, December 30, 2010

Links 30-12-10

A big hello to all the gym-owners and health book publishers in the world who will make a lot of money in the next week from a number of common behavioural biases. Seeing people around this time is like observing behavioural economic forces in their pure state. For me, each time around this year a mystical vision of my potential self descends on me and keeps me rapt for a few days. Sometimes it has led to me making decisions that were very positive but for the most part the allure wears out after a week. If anyone knows any good papers on New Year's resolutions bounce them on or post them. For now, here are some random links.

1. Economics Teaching Sessions at AEA Meeting in Denver (via Greg Mankiw)

2. Stumbling and Mumbling has some interesting thoughts on tail-risk and Northern Ireland's current trouble with water. Dublin has been hit with water shortages also due, it seems, to burst pipes leading to massive leaks of water. The preparedness of Ireland and the UK for the type of extreme (by standards this side of the world) weather conditions experienced in the last month is a very interesting case-study in cost-benefit analysis and behavioural economics.

3. The Guardian letter-writing page starts attacking the "nudge agenda".

4. New website of the Cornell Center for Behavioural Economics in Child Nutrition.

5. From Behavioural Economics to the Bedside - about a JAMA edition on physician reasoning in case you were wondering.

6. Hepburn et al - Behavioural Economics, Hyperbolic Discounting and Environmental Policy - from a recent special issue of Environmental and Resource Economics

7. Kirman and Teschi - The Role of Empathy in Economics

Empathy is a longstanding issue in economics, especially for welfare economics, but one which has faded from the scene in recent years. However, with the rise of neuroeconomics, there is now a renewed interest in this subject. Some economists have even gone so far as to suggest that neuroscientific experiments reveal heterogeneous empathy levels across individuals. If this were the case, this would be in line with economists' usual assumption of stable and given preferences and would greatly facilitate the study of prosocial behaviour with which empathy is often associated. After reviewing some neuroscientific psychological and neuroeconomic evidence on empathy, we will, however, criticize the notion of a given empathy distribution in the population by referring to recent experiments on a public goods game that suggest that, on the contrary, the degree of empathy that individuals exhibit is very much dependent on context and social interaction

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