Understanding Behavioral Economics
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Understanding Behavioral Economics

A Qualitative Perspective

About the Book

This book constitutes the lectures we prepared over the last few years for the upper-division course in Behavioral Economics we have both taught at the University of New Haven. It is intended to be used in class alongside a set of readings, a collection of PowerPoint decks, various videos, and a few movies.

Among our pedagogical objectives we have tried to convey to our students what every economist understands: Economics is a social science. Economists tread happily across any number of fields, to the point where we are often accused of intellectual imperialism. Behavioral economics started for the most part, in psychology – and has spread rapidly into all economic and business domains as well as to other fields such as forensics, intelligence, health. It appears that they are now returning the favor.

Behavioral economics is a vibrant and increasingly relevant subfield. It is one that embodies a relentless inter-disciplinarity. Behavioral economics embraces sociology, psychology, neurobiology, anthropology, happily alongside game theory, marketing, management, finance, and classical decision-making. 

The Economics program at the University of New Haven is housed in the Pompea College of Business; and it is because we are within the business school that we face a unique challenge. Our task, as we see it, is to introduce our students to behavioral economics so as to enhance their analytical, and decision-making skills. We must reach non-economists and we must also reach those from across campus, from Music, Forensics, and Engineering.

The lectures in this book replay the ideas and writings of many. We try to be faithful and complete, but, occasionally, as Jorge Luis Borges once observed, “the original is unfaithful to the translation.” Which is a roundabout and more elegant way of saying there is not much sparkling new in these lectures except, perhaps in the way the material is stitched together.


About the Authors

A. E. Rodriguez
A. E. Rodriguez

A.E. Rodriguez is professor and chair of the Department of Economics & Business Analytics in the Pompea College of Business of the University of New Haven. Dr. Rodriguez is an expert in forensic economics, competition policy and regulation.

Dr. Rodriguez is the founder of the University’s Economics Collective, an online, student-run blogging and teaching space and social network that aims to be a catalyst for creative solutions to today's economic challenges; and founder of the Economic Performance Laboratory (EPL), the Department's teaching laboratory; the EPL publishes the New Haven Economic Performance Index. He created the University of New Haven’s bachelor’s degree program in business analytics and the University’s B.A. in behavioral economics.

Co-author of the book The Limits of Competition Policy, Dr. Rodriguez is widely published in refereed journals, law reviews, and professional periodicals. A member of the National Association of Forensic Economists and the American Economic Association, he has lectured nationally on competition policy and regulation.

His publications include "The Causes of Competition Agency Ineffectiveness in Developing Countries" in Law and Contemporary Problems, "Something Old, Something New: MBA Program Evaluation Using Shift-Share Analysis and Google Trends" in Research in Higher Education, "Hacking’s Day in Court: Do Adjustments for Multiple Comparison Raise Ethical Concerns in Forensic Testimony?" in the Journal of Ethical and Legal Issues, and "On the Art of Slaying Dragons: The Case Against the International Competition Network" in Competition Law Insight.

A former U.S. Federal Trade Commission economist, Dr. Rodriguez served as an antitrust adviser to the office of the then Attorney General of the State of Connecticut Richard Blumenthal. He also previously was a senior manager with both KPMG and PwC. As an associate economist with (now) Sobel Tinari Economics Group, Dr. Rodriguez worked on forensic economic reports on wrongful death – including 100 wrongful cases for individuals killed on 9/11 – wrongful termination, and discrimination cases.

For the last 18 years, Dr. Rodriguez has been a principal in A.E. Rodriguez Consulting, providing economic services in support of litigation including domestic and international antitrust liability and damages, franchise termination, wrongful termination, race and gender discrimination, and other contractual disputes. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

John Rosen
John Rosen

John Rosen is executive director of MCAworks, a leading global marketing and strategy consultancy, where he is responsible for new business creation, branding, new product development, and channel management for clients in consumer products and services, healthcare, technology, financial services, and retail.

An expert on revitalizing consumer brands, Professor Rosen has over 25 years of sales, marketing management, and strategic consulting experience, revitalizing consumer brands and helping firms deliver real unit growth domestically and globally across a wide range of industries, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, telecommunication, small business software solutions, apparel, retailing, electronics, beverages, consumer durables, and automotive and industrial products.

He also is executive director of NewTechHaven, a company that partners with small businesses and start-ups to help them accelerate growth, energize investors, or secure funding.

He is co-author of the book, Stopwatch Marketing: Take Charge of the Time When Your Customer Decides to Buy, which takes a close look at the ways businesses can capture "a consumer’s attention at precisely the right time and hold it through the purchase decision." Stopwatch Marketing is a "method of adjusting a business’s marketing strategies to match the shopping styles of their customers."

A former senior partner at FutureBrand and the Marketing Corporation of America, Professor Rosen was vice president of marketing at Simon & Shuster and CBS. He worked in brand management for Quaker Oats, Coors Brewing Company, and Mattel Toys. He is treasurer and a board member of The Drake Group, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is "to defend academic integrity in college athletics." As an adjunct professor and member of the faculty of the Department of Economics and Business Analytics at the University of New Haven, he also serves on the advisory board for the New Haven Economic Performance Laboratory and the university’s Liberty Initiative.

He received his B.S. in Commerce, Economics, and Politics from Washington & Lee University and an MBA from Northwestern University.

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