Over the past 10 years we have been witnessing a significant increase in a number of scientific studies which analyze day-to-day decision-making by using psychological tools and experimental designs. The purpose of this new approach, often called behavioral economics, is to enrich traditional economic conceptions of human decision-making employed by the currently dominant theory of rational choice. This new approach is providing descriptively more fitting accounts of human behavior by showing, for example, that when trying to follow our decisions we, as humans, are constrained by limited will-power.
Most of us want to go to the gym more often, stop eating junk food, quit smoking, reduce drinking, and live “better” in general. And so often we fail because our will power is limited, once we focus on one target, we fail even more in others. Those knowing that, try to boost their motivation or limit failing by participating in Christmas clubs or using iPhone apps that will share embarrassing pictures of them with their friends in case they fail to eat healthy. Similar limitations can be observed with respect to our rational decision-making that is “rational” only sporadically. We give higher tips to smiling waitresses with short skirts even in pubs we will never ever visit again (there is really no “economic” reason for that) and we follow our do-not-cheat principles even though no one is watching and we cannot get fined for doing so. And of course, we are generally nice to each other as we are self-interested and in many cases even altruistic.
Recently, more and more studies present a variety of decision-making errors and biases under the umbrella of the trio of limited will power, limited self-interest and bounded rationality.
Insights obtained from behavioral economics research can be used to design new institutional settings that will help people avoid negative consequences of their systematic errors in decision making, yet maintain the possibility of freedom of choice for those who wish to diverge from the default. This “libertarian paternalistic” approach provides one of the most interesting and practical frameworks for creating incentive structures not only in public policy sphere, but also in management and marketing.
The aim of the program is therefore to provide students with a unique opportunity to gain or deepen their knowledge of decision-making and its errors, and behavioral economics implications for policy making and public institutional settings, as well as its practical implications for the realm of organizational management. In order to better understand scientific methods used in research, the participants will design their own experiments under the supervision of the lecturers, conduct them, and present their results to the other participants, who subject them to critical discussions.
The knowledge and analytical skills, which the students shall acquire, can be utilized in the areas of policymaking, management, marketing and advertising, consulting, as well as media. Visit ACADEMICS to find out more about the program.
The Summer School on Behavioral Economics and Psychology was launched in 2014 and since then brought over 120 outstanding students to Prague. It was organized in cooperation with the Institute for Behavioral and Economic Studies (INBES). The goal of the Institute is to utilize the knowledge of social and organizational psychology, behavioral economics, law and cognitive science when enhancing the functional efficiency of public and private entities.
The Prague Summer School on Behavioral Economics and Psychology is driven by our passion to understand the human decision-making better and to share this knowledge with others. Over the past 10 years we have been witnessing a significant increase in a number of scientific studies, which analyze day-to-day decision-making by using psychological tools and experimental designs. Today we know that our decisions are influenced by seemingly irrelevant factors and the general context in which the decisions are taken. We also know that there is no neutral decision architecture, i.e. different contexts are nudging us towards different directions. All this is crucial for us as individuals, companies and last but not least for design of public policies. By launching the summer school we would like to contribute a small bit to the uptake of behavioral science knowledge and its real-word application. We believe this may contribute to better and fairer World.
Marek Havrda, Ph.D.
Co-founder of Prague Summer Schools
“The program was very good: great balance of lecture/work and time to enjoy Prague. I really enjoyed the guest lectures and felt like they added a lot to the course. Thank you for the excellent experience.”
“The program was fantastic and lectures were interesting. They made a great job in creating a program that was appropriate for students having different backgrounds. Social activities organized during the free time were excellent. Special thanks to all the great and friendly assistants.”
Alumni, Summer School 2015
„I really want to thank you for all the work you did this summer; this one week was the shortest, but really unforgettable for me. I met so many amazing people from all over the world. And the program and all the lecturers were so interesting. Thanks to all the staff for being so generous and also for the perfect organization. I’m very grateful for such an amazing experience. Keep going, best wishes to you.“
Ekaterine, Georgia, Summer School 2014
The classes will be held at the Prague Summer Schools venue (Marianeum, Machova 7, Vinohrady, Prague 2, website). Accommodation will be provided to students in double rooms at the accommodation facilities in the venue or Hotel Ametyst which is located within a walking distance from the venue. Each room is equipped with a shower, WC, satellite TV, Internet connection and telephone. Meals provided by the organizer will include breakfasts served in the hotel and dinners in restaurant located nearby the Summer School venue. As the days are demanding there will be coffee, tea and small snack available free of charge during the breaks between lectures.