Aims and Topics

Recent developments in behavioural economics have created the reasonable expectation that ethics and welfare economics might one day become part of a unified science of human behaviour encompassing economics, sociology and other social sciences. Three sides of the current research are likely to play a fundamental role in this process of integration. First, the theory of bounded rationality and learning in games, which has been widely studied in the last two decades. Second, the more sophisticated approach to people’s preferences pioneered by behavioural economists, which incorporates altruism and spitefulness, a taste for reciprocity, feelings of guilt and shame and other specifically moral emotions. Finally, the empirical research on the way in which flesh-and-bone individuals take ethically relevant decisions.

The organization of the summer school reflects this conviction. The first part will be devoted the economic and philosophical approach to the evolution of justice and social contract. In the second part the main behavioural models will be introduced. In the third part of the school the experimental evidence will be presented. Implications of the current research for ethics and welfare economics will be addressed in the last day of the school.

Main topics

  • The evolution of justice and the social contract: a philosophical and economic perspective (K. Binmore)
  • Considerations on the methodological  foundations of behavioural economics and game theory (K. Binmore, E. Angner)
  • An overview of psychological game theory (M. Dufwenberg)
  • The behavioral and experimental approach to reciprocity, communication and promises (M. Dufwenberg)
  • Theory and experiments on bargaining, impartiality and fairness (T. Ellingsen)
  • Methodological, theoretical and experimental approach on social interaction and social capital (S. Hargreaves Heap)
  • The social value of groups (S. Hargreaves Heap)
  • Norm compliance, conformity and sense of justice: theory and experiments (L. Sacconi, S. Ottone and M. Faillo)
  • Learning to be fair  (Luciano Andreozzi)