Kilian Rieder, 20 April 2020

Since mid-March 2020, countries have seen consumers panic buying large quantities of groceries in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Why does panic buying arise and how may one mitigate its negative consequences? This column examines the Bank of England’s response to financial crises during the 19th century and suggests that a key action is to counter those incentives that turn panic buying into a rational strategy.

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22 - 23 October 2020 | Rauischholzhausen Castle (near Marburg), Germany | Justus Liebig University Giessen

Justus Liebig University Giessen in conjunction with the GGS invite academics and PhD students to submit papers for consideration of presentation at the 2nd Conference on Behavioral Research in Finance, Governance, and Accounting. The conference will be held at the Rauischholzhausen Castle near Marburg.

Accepted papers will be considered for a Best Paper Award.

The keynote speech will be given by Prof Steffen Andersen (CBS).

Paper Submission
- Only full papers will be considered
- Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2020
- Authors of accepted papers will be notified by July 15, 2020

More information and submission on:

www.bfga-conference.com

Benjamin Enke, Thomas Graeber, 18 April 2020

When making economic decisions, people are often aware that they do not know the optimal thing to do. Traditional models of economic decision-making do not account for this ‘cognitive uncertainty’. This column argues that cognitive uncertainty predicts economic actions and beliefs because, in binary settings, it induces people to implicitly compress probabilities towards a 50:50 ‘mental default’. This partially explains behavioural anomalies in choice under risk, choice under ambiguity, belief updating, and survey forecasts of economic variables.

Daniel Treisman, 26 November 2017

Most research on the transition to democracy tries to explain why autocrats choose to democratise. Based on two centuries of data on democratisation, this column argues, however, that autocratic rulers overwhelmingly create democracies by mistake. Taking these mistakes into account during analysis may improve the predictive or explanatory power of existing models.

Josh Angrist, Pierre Azoulay, Glenn Ellison, Ryan Hill, Susan Feng Lu, 17 November 2017

Economics, and economists, are often accused of insularity and hubris, and of talking primarily to themselves in their research. This column uses a recent analysis of citations to and from other disciplines to show that this is no longer the case. Economics papers increasingly cite non-economic research, and other disciplines cite economists more often too. The data suggest that the rising quantity and quality of empirical research in economics has increased the relevance of the field to non-economists.

Hersh Shefrin, 12 October 2017

Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for his contributions to behavioural economics”. This column, written by his first behavioural collaborator, provides a personal perspective on the development of three key areas of research to which the new laureate has been a major contributor: people’s limited rationality, their perceptions about fairness, and their lack of self-control.

Edward Glaeser, Giacomo Ponzetto, 18 September 2017

Psychologists have long documented that we over-attribute people's actions to innate characteristics rather than to circumstances. This column shows that when we commit this ‘fundamental attribution error’ as voters, we over-ascribe politicians´ success to personal characteristics that merit re-election. Although this mistake can improve politicians’ incentives in ordinary times, the theory also explains lack of institutional reform and poor institutional choices, such as decreased demand for a free press and preferences for dictatorship.

Xavier Gabaix, 21 August 2017

How do we model the fact that individuals don't fully understand how the economy works? In this video, Xavier Gabaix discusses the implications for designing monetary policies. This video was recorded in July 2017 at a macroeconomics conference organised by the Bank of England.

Lydia Mechtenberg, Gerd Muehlheusser, Andreas Roider, 04 June 2017

Whistle-blowing by employees is important for uncovering corporate fraud. This column studies the effectiveness of recent laws and policy recommendations that aim to enhance willingness to report incidents and to increase deterrence by improving the protection of whistle-blowers. Easily attainable protection leads to more truthful reports, but also to more fraudulent claims, which makes prosecutors less likely to investigate and hampers deterrence. More stringent requirements for protection dampen these unintended side effects.

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.

Robert French, Philip Oreopoulos, 05 December 2016

Behavioural economics has been playing an increasingly important role in public policy the world over, and Canada is no exception. This column outlines the steps Canada is taking towards incorporating insights from the literature into its policies. It also highlights the emphasis that many agencies in Canada are placing on testing their prospective behavioural interventions through randomised control trials.

Ben Vollaard, 16 June 2016

The situations we find ourselves in determine our behaviour far more than we realise.  To show the relevance of this idea to fellow economists, this column presents a natural field experiment that was conducted in an Economics department. The experiment looks at the department members’ honesty in keeping tally of their soda can consumption in the pantry. The honesty rate is shown to depend greatly on the presence of a pen hanging down from the door of the refrigerator, indicating that situational factors are more significant determinants of behaviour than previously realised.

Peter Andrews, Amelia Fletcher, Michael Grubb, Charlotte Duke, David Laibson, 15 June 2016

Behavioural industrial organisation centres on competition analysis with realistic assumptions, reflecting human behaviour. In this video, economists Peter Andrews, Amelia Fletcher, Michael Grubb, Charlotte Duke and David Laibson discuss how behavioural industrial organisation can be used to model and regulate financial markets, as well as to promote more effective competition. The video was recorded during the FCA symposium on Behavioural Industrial Organisation held in December 2015.

Stefano DellaVigna, Devin Pope, 29 May 2016

Behavioural economics has made many gains in recent years, but much uncertainty persists about the effectiveness of different behavioural interventions. This column uses data from a large-scale experiment to find the relative effectiveness of multiple treatments within one setting, and to gauge the accuracy of academic experts’ forecasts of responses. It finds monetary incentives are strong motivators, non-monetary psychological inducements are moderately effective, and results using behavioural factors are generally consistent with models of social and time preferences. Further, the interviewed experts correctly anticipate several results, including the effectiveness of psychological inducements, but fail to predict other important features.

Christian Schubert, 22 January 2016

Nudges are modifications of people’s choice architecture that impact their behaviour but don’t change their incentives or coerce them. As a policy instrument, nudges have been shown to be effective in changing certain kinds of behaviours. This column explores the ethical issues that arise in employing such potentially manipulative policies. An evaluation programme is outlined that explores a potential policy’s impact on people’s wellbeing, autonomy, and integrity, along with its practical implications.

Francesco D'Acunto, 20 September 2015

Research consistently finds that men are more risk tolerant, or even risk loving, than women. This column argues that social identity, next to biology, helps explain the stark difference in risk attitudes and beliefs across genders. Men to whom identity is salient become more risk tolerant and invest more often and with more money. Identity makes men overconfident but its effects decrease with age. This is consistent with the notion that gender stereotypes have become less stark over the last decades.

Ginger Jin, Michael Luca, Daniel Martin, 22 July 2015

Theories of voluntary disclosure suggest that even when disclosure is voluntary, market forces can drive firms to completely reveal information about their quality. This column investigates these predictions in an experimental setting. Laboratory results suggest widespread failures of the theoretical predictions – senders do not fully disclose, and receivers are not fully sceptical about non-disclosure. This suggests a role for policymakers to help customers understand the sound of silence.

Daniel Feenberg, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaulé, Jonathan Gruber, 06 June 2015

If your surname begins with a letter at the end of the alphabet, you might have had that sneaking suspicion that it meant you were always picked last for sports teams, or always had your exam paper marked last when your teacher was tired and unforgiving. This column suggests that you might well have been right. New evidence suggests that academic papers presented at the top of a list are cited more simply because they are the first thing you see. In the digital age, many academic papers are competing for the scant attention of readers, and this column’s results indicate that details like presentation order really matter.

Allison Demeritt, Karla Hoff, James Walsh, 20 May 2015

Economists typically assume people behave in a rational and self-interested way, making standard models limited in their explanatory power. This column argues that psychological and sociological factors – though usually ignored in economic models – affect decision-making. The findings, drawn from the World Development Report, further suggest that better behavioural understanding could subsequently aid development efforts.

Christine Exley, 27 December 2014

Decisions involving charitable giving often occur under the shadow of risk. A common finding is that potential donors give less when there is greater risk that their donation will have less impact. While this behaviour could be fully rationalised by standard economic models, this column shows that an additional mechanism is relevant – the use of risk as an excuse not to give. In light of this finding, this column also discusses how charities may benefit from structuring their donation requests in particular ways. 

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