About Us

Our Vision

The goal of the Institute for Behavioral Economics (IBE) is to promote research and teaching in the field of behavioral economics.

The director and other affiliated scholars wish to inspire by teaching and research, to provide advice and guidance to scholars and students, and to organize seminars, mini-courses with invited speakers, and conferences. Colleagues and students from other departments than Economics are encouraged to become a part of the IBE and to participate in the exciting research of the Institute. The IBE plans to bring behavioral economics researchers to town to collaborate under the auspices of the IBE. The hope is to place The University of Arizona at the vanguard of behavioral economics.


 

Behavioral Economics

The field of economics uses sophisticated mathematical and econometric methods, but relies on relatively simplistic assumptions about human nature. Research in neighboring social sciences, by contrast, generally uses less sophisticated analytical methods while entertaining a richer description of man.

Behavioral economics (BE) combines the strengths of both approaches, incorporating psychological insights into economic analysis, typically with continued use of sophisticated analytical tools.

BE has recently become the fastest growing field in economics and by many accounts the most exciting. The background is a wealth of evidence, often experimental, identifying empirical phenomena that are not adequately explained by traditional economic analysis. BE develops new models that incorporate emotions, fairness, reciprocity, social norms, bounded rationality, myopia, etc. The research often builds on game theory, which provides more flexible tools for this purpose than classical price theory or general equilibrium theory. BE is developed hand-in-hand by theorists and experimentalists, with many scholars having a foot in each camp.

By its nature, BE is cross-disciplinary. Economists are informed by researchers in other fields, such as psychology, sociology, philosophy, and the neurosciences. In return, BE offers analytical tools, models, and modes of thinking that can enhance the research of scholars outside economics.


 

For additional information, please contact us.