Seminar UHasselt “Decision-making Under Poverty” door prof. dr. Marieke Huysentruyt

Friday, november 23th, 12.00-14.00, room B5, Campus Diepenbeek, Hasselt University, Building DIn this lunch seminar, prof. dr. Marieke Huysentruyt (SITE, Stockholm School of Economics and London School of Economics), will present the working paper entitled “Decision-making Under Poverty: Why Do Behavioral Biases Matter So Much More?” (co-authored by Daniel Read, Warwick Business School)Abstract:

Behavioral economics has identified many ways that people’s behavior differs from that predicted by theoretical notions of rational choice, including those of modern ordinal preference theory (underpinned by axioms of choice, such as completeness and transitivity), and those of hedonistic utility theory (underpinned by notions of what is better for the agent). Although no one doubts there will be individual and intergroup variations in the propensity to deviate from rational ideals, most theorists have nonetheless made the (usually) silent assumption that the propensities are general “human” characteristics that everyone is equally likely to display. This is why experiments are conducted to find out if “people” are risk seeking for gains, or overly impatient – and not to find out who in an obviously heterogeneous population actually displays these characteristics, and why.  This neglect is now being corrected, with many researchers asking the difficult “individual differences” question. One population group that will, as we argue in this paper, be more likely to show departures from economic rationality are the poor and those on low incomes, who would typically be placed into the category of “underclass” or the “working poor”. We advance two classes of argument for why these groups will often make less rational choices than those who are better off.  The emerging insights contribute to (and challenge) scholarly conversations in today’s social policy making field.

Sandwiches will be provided. To register, please send an e-mail to: koen.vanlaer@uhasselt.be

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