Frontiers of economic research

Beryl Chang, Fabrizio Ghisellini, 21 May 2017

Behavioural economics has identified phenomena that standard models could not explain. But its critics warn that it is becoming little more than a ‘pile of quirks’. This column argues that the future development of behavioural economics should focus on a streamlining process that will clarify core issues, fill conceptual gaps, and create tractable models. Behavioural models will only become a coherent alternative to homo economicus if this process occurs.

Michalis Haliassos, 19 May 2017

The 2017 CEPR European Workshop on Household Finance took place on 28-29 April 2017 at the Copenhagen Business School. This column introduces the CEPR Network on Household Finance and its goals, and also describes the papers that were presented at the workshop.

Nattavudh Powdthavee, Yohanes E. Riyanto, Jack L. Knetsch, 18 May 2017

Economists are judged on both the number of times they publish and where they publish. Yet very little is known about the impact on reputation of including lower-rated journals in an author’s list of publications. This column presents evidence that including these publications has a negative impact on judgements of the author’s contribution by other economists. To the extent that such judgements may influence research and publication strategies, the findings imply negative implications for social welfare.

Antonio Cabrales, Antonio M. Espín, Praveen Kujal, Stephen Rassenti, 09 May 2017

Trust in our partners is important for economic transactions, but time pressure might affect the level of trust we place in others. This column reports the results of an experimental game in which individuals choose how much trust to place in partners who either must respond instinctively, or have time to reflect. Less-reflective personality types incorrectly trusted their partners least when those partners had time to think. This has implications for policies which, for example, impose cooling-off periods on negotiations. 

Ravi Kanbur, Andy Snell, 30 April 2017

Observed inequality has limitations for normative assessment, which raises the question of whether inequality measurement is redundant and should be replaced by the study of the underlying causes of inequality. This column argues that even in the context of the ‘process versus outcomes’ question, overall indices of inequality still maintain their relevance, but now as statistical tests of fairness.

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