Behavior and Society


Welcome to YSI Behavior and Society Working Group!

The Behavior and Society Working Group explores the relationship between individual behavior and institutional and socio-economic structures in order to broaden the scope of economics. We draw upon insights from psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and philosophy, as well as behavioral and experimental economics.

The Working Group on Behavior and Society incorporates insights from behavioral and experimental economics, neuroscience, psychology, and other related disciplines to answer questions about individual behavior and decision-making in an institutional context.

This working group critically and broadly studies human behavior in its socioeconomic environment through various sub-disciplines, including but not limited to behavioral and experimental economics (economic incentives and behavior), neuroscience (molecular and cognitive aspects of decision-making) and social psychology (attitudes, feelings and behavior).

This working group will address some of the following theoretical and methodological questions:

  • How is individual behavior influenced and determined by economic and social structure?
  • In which way do individual preferences co-evolve with their socioeconomic environment?
  • What is “rational choice” in a behavioral world?
  • How can we conceptualize and measure individual well-being?
  • Do markets crowd out or foster moral behavior?
  • When and why do incentives work to modify behavior?
  • What methods and tools do these disciplines bring to the table?
  • What are their key insights? What are their limitations?
  • In which way do these new insights undermine or complement neoclassical economics?
  • How can better insights about decision-making on the individual level help us advance our understanding of the overall economy?
  • How can an increased understanding of individual behavior and reasoning improve institutional designs?

These are open questions to which economists, psychologist, and natural scientists provide diverging answers. This working group wants to be a forum to critically examine these diverse insights, their methodological significance, and normative implications.

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