Behavioural Economics

Sat 21 July 2018


8:00 Breakfast
8:45 Director’s Introduction and Academic Briefing
9:00 What to do if customers are behavioural?  (Johannes Abeler)
10:00 Syndicate Discussion
11:00 What to do if employees are behavioural?  (Johannes Abeler)
12:00 Syndicate Discussion
1:00 Lunch
Free afternoon


The topic of the day is behavioural economics, one of the most fruitful areas of economic research of recent. Most of economics assumes that people think hard before they make a decision, then choose whatever is in their individual monetary best interest without the regard for others, and finally carry this decision through without self-control problems. It turns out that many people are not like that.  Real people often don’t like to think about complicated decisions and, even if they do, fail to identify what is best for them.  They incur costs to be nice to others, incur costs to be nasty to others, are inconsistent over time, have problems understanding probabilities and have limited self-control. The area of behavioural economics  combines insights from economics, psychology and sociology  and  tries  to understand how  real  (or “behavioural”) people  actually decide, where and how their decisions differ from the standard economic  model,  and  how  best to deal  with this kind of people. The two lectures of today focus on what a firm should do if its customers are behavioural and what a firm should do if its employees are behavioural.

Johannes Abeler – University of Oxford

Johannes is an Associate Professor at the Department of Economics and Tutorial Fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford University. After studies of Electrical Engineering and Industrial Engineering, he completed a PhD in Economics at the University of Bonn and then moved to the University of Nottingham. He joined Oxford in 2011 and is teaching mainly Public Economics and Microeconomics. In his research, he applies insights from behavioural and experimental economics to questions in labour and public economics. His research has studied the economic effects of honesty, disappointment, fairness, complexity, and fungibility.