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Jerusalem Life

| IDC to open an MA program in Behavioral Economics

Zev Stub    
Tuesday, 28 May 6:16 PM

IDC’s New Behavioral Economics MA Program Seeks to Understand Decisions and Improve Policies

The unique one-of-a-kind program will provide practical tools for implementing public policies and behavioral interventions. 

Behavioral economics is an emerging field of research in economics and psychology with important real-life and policy implications. The rise of behavioral economics and the rapidly growing need for behavioral economists stems from the realization that the standard economic assumption that all individuals behave in fundamentally rational ways does not pass experimental tests. This, and the major societal challenges we face in light of many socio-economic challenges including the reforms of financial markets, rising inequality, refugee crises and the like, underscore the need to develop a new graduate program that will train professionals to contribute to the functioning of government agencies, policy makers as well as private corporations and NGO’s. The new MA program at IDC combines insights from social sciences to generate an additional dimension to the understanding of human behavior and how it can be improved, and provides practical tools for implementing public policies and behavioral interventions aimed at aiding individuals and societies break through their potential inefficient existing programs and the implementations of new programs. This MA program in Behavioral Economics is designed to address this need.

Historically, the groundbreaking work and joint efforts of Richard Thaler (an economist and 2017 Nobel prize laureate in economics for his work in behavioral economics), Daniel Kahneman (a psychologist and decision-making researcher, who was awarded the 2002 Nobel prize for his work in behavioral economics), and Amos Tversky z”l (a psychologist and decision-making researcher) laid down the foundations of behavioral economics as an independent field. Our program will build on this strong connection between economics and psychology to train professionals to have both a solid grasp of economics and robust knowledge of the psychological forces that shape human behavior, both of which are crucial for behavioral economists.

To meet these goals, the program will be composed of a comprehensive set of core courses in economics, decision-making, and public policy, along with foundational and more advanced courses in behavioral research methods and statistics. The program, which is taught entirely in English, is designed to provide a strong background in theory, and give students practical tools and hands-on experience with state-of-the-art policies and interventions (e.g., nudges, financial incentives) aimed at improving decision-making processes. For example, students will join Nudgeathons and will work with staff members and Israeli government agencies on real-life application of behavioral economics in the public sector. The new MA program at IDC responds to the strong need to formulate and enact social policies and interventions to help individuals manage their lives better, and the goal of developing a state-of-the-art behavioral economics hub in Israel.

For more information, click here. 

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