We articulate an integrationist view of behavioral economics in the introductory economics classroom: behavioral economics is part of the mainstream of economic thinking and inclusion of its ideas in the introductory economics classroom is sensible and appealing to students. After reviewing the role of behavioral economics in introductory textbooks, we find many inconsistencies and gaps in how behavioral economics is taught. Some of the principles of microeconomics textbooks cover behavioral economics intermittently with short mentions throughout the text while others devote a chapter to the subject. To provide instructors with a guide on integrating behavioral economics into principles courses, we select five areas of behavioral economics that correspond to topics that are currently part of the principles curriculum: rationality; self-interested preferences and utility maximization; income, welfare, and happiness; incentives, public policy and mechanism design; and, risk and time preferences. We highlight ways in which an instructor who teaches these ideas can incorporate insights from behavioral economics to engage students and tie the theory taught in the classroom to empirically observed behavior.
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