How can advances in behavioral sciences (Cognitive Science, Experimental and Behavioral Economics) inform policy-making? How can policies be improved by taking findings from these studies?
Traditional policy making assumes that citizens are rational agents who always take the best decisions for themselves. Yet, findings in behavioral economics and cognitive psychology show that it is not the case: people are “predictably irrational.” These findings open new avenues for making policies that foster individual decisions that are better for both the individual and society.
The course addresses the method, welfare implications and moral basis of the use of behavioral sciences in policy making. This includes issues in contemporary political philosophy regarding the legitimacy of using scientific theories about human behavior for political purposes. It also includes issues in behavioral economics and its relevance to policy making. We shall review along the ways findings in cognitive psychology, theories about how the human mind works, and the type of evidence scientists rely upon.