The Heart of Teaching Economics

The Heart of Teaching Economics

Lessons from Leading Minds

Simon W. Bowmaker

This unique monograph comprises a collection of interviews conducted face-to-face with leading economists at universities throughout the United States. Presented with the singular opportunity to reflect on and share their wisdom and experience, the 21 interviewees discuss how they interpret, understand and practice their role as teachers. In addition to providing lessons that will inform the way others teach, the interviews shatter the illusion that teaching and research are strictly independent and competing activities.

Chapter 7: Behavioral Economics

David Laibson

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of education, teaching economics, education, economics of education, teaching and learning


David Laibson David Laibson was born in Haverford, Pennsylvania in 1966 and graduated with an AB in economics from Harvard University in 1988 before obtaining an MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics in 1990 and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. He joined the Department of Economics at Harvard University as an Assistant Professor in 1994 and has remained there ever since, currently serving as the Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics. At Harvard, Professor Laibson teaches undergraduate courses in Psychology and Economics and Macroeconomic Theory and graduate courses in Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Economic Theory, Psychology and Economics, and Monetary and Fiscal Policy. In recognition for his outstanding contributions to teaching, he was designated a Harvard College Professor in 2008 and received the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 1999. Professor Laibson’s research studies macroeconomics, psychology and economics, neuroeconomics, and household finance. His articles have been published in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Public Economics and Economic Journal, among others. His books include, The Matching Law: Papers on 118 M2372 - BOWMAKER TEXT.indd 118 29/9/10 11:36:34 Behavioral economics – David Laibson 119 Psychology and Economics by Richard Herrnstein (Harvard University Press, 1997), co-edited with Howard Rachlin. I interviewed David Laibson in his office at the Department of Economics at Harvard University. It was the middle of the afternoon of Monday, June 1, 2009. BACKGROUND INFORMATION Why did...

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