Info 290

Behavioral Science and Public Policy

3 units

Course Description

This class will be aimed primarily towards master’s students but open to Ph.D. students as well. We will begin by evaluating the standard arguments for government intervention (e.g., addressing externalities, promoting competition, etc.), which typically assume that people are thinking carefully and optimizing their decisions towards some stable set of preferences. Then we will explore the evidence on three ways people deviate from those standard assumptions: non-standard beliefs, non-standard preferences, and non-standard decision-making processes. We will work to arrive at a set of psychological principles that improve our understanding of many long standing social problems (e.g., crime, addiction, prejudice) in addition to emerging issues (e.g., algorithms/AI, mental health, cultural differences). We will close the class by addressing the scope for different interventions to address these problems.


Last updated:

April 1, 2024