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Outdoor Study Group


Current & Upcoming Courses

Teaching: Courses

Experimental Economics

Offered next: Fall 2022

Through the use of laboratory and field experiments, experimental economics is continually refining our understanding of human economic behavior. Its findings have both confirmed and challenged standard economic theory and bolstered our understanding of the ways in which the economic decisions of individuals and groups can deviate, sometimes dramatically, from those predicted by the rational actor model.  This course provides students with a foundation in the use of experiments for testing hypotheses about economic behavior. Topics covered include experimental economics ethics, basics of experimental design in economics, opportunities, challenges, and limitations of experimental methods, commonly used approaches for studying cooperation and competition, analysis of experimental data, and key contributions to the economics literature. Throughout the semester, the class will work together to design, implement, and analyze the results of an economic experiment. The semester culminates in the creation and presentation of student-designed experimental research proposals.

Behavioral Economics

Behavioral research continues to demonstrate that the economic decisions of individuals and groups can deviate, sometimes dramatically, from those predicted by standard economic theory’s rational actor model.  Behavioral economics seeks to explain the economic decision-making of homo sapiens economicus, the psychologically complex, cognitively limited, emotional, social decision-maker.  Topics covered in this course include bounded rationality, heuristics & biases, prospect theory, time preferences, social preferences, anchoring, priming, moral balancing, and applications to public policy.

Good: The Study & Practice of Prosocial Behavior

Offered next: Fall 2022 (not regularly offered)

Why are some people willing to sacrifice to improve the well-being of others? Does our ability to cooperate set humans apart from other species? How do different disciplines approach the study of prosocial behavior? Is cooperation always a good thing? How can we motivate others to do good in the world? Should people be paid to do the right thing? Through lectures, class activities, discussion, experiments, service to others, and self-reflection, we will begin to answer these questions and more; we will both study and practice prosocial behavior. Research questions, methodologies, and findings from economics, psychology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and political science will be explored, though strongest focus will be on the economics of prosocial behavior.

Statistical Methods

Offered next: Spring 2023 (offered every semester by department)

Whether you aim to conduct economic research, prepare a business plan, or merely make sense of the evening news, the ability to understand, perform, and communicate statistical analyses is essential. This course covers the summarization, analysis, and communication of quantitative information.  Topics include numerical and graphical descriptive statistics, probability, sampling, interval estimation, hypothesis testing, inference, and an introduction to simple and multiple linear regression analysis.  Students conduct statistical analyses manually and through the use of statistical software. The culminating experience is the replication of the graphical communication and statistical analyses of a published economics journal article.

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