William Comanor ’59 Annual Event
Pershing Square Professor of Behavioral Economics in the Harvard Economics Department and Harvard Business School
Thursday, April 11, 2019
5:30 p.m., Sharpless Auditorium
Talk title: "The Economic and Policy Implications of how we mispredict our own future behavior and tastes"
Extensive psychological evidence—complemented by recent empirical economic research—indicates some of the ways that we mispredict our own future tastes and behavior. Professor Rabin will discuss some of the evidence researchers have identified, and how we can think about these mispredictions in unified terms. Two major forms will be discussed: "projection bias", where we tend to think our future tastes will be more similar to our current ones than they will, leading us to exaggerate how current cravings will persist, as well as underappreciating the role of habit formation in our lives. A second is how we tend to be overoptimistic about our future self control. Understanding these errors leads to a different perspective on interpreting behaviors (such as smoking, drugs, and exercise habits) and on formulating best economic policies, such as taxes and cooling-periods.
William Comanor ’59 has endowed a fund for an annual Spring event, featuring a public talk by an eminent economist followed by a banquet for our senior class to celebrate his or her work.
- 2010 Michael Spence, recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize for his work on the dynamics of information flows and market development.
- 2011 Paul Krugman, recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize, and New York Times columnist.
- 2012 Raghiram Rajan, Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, and recipient of the distinguished inaugural Fisher Black Prize awarded by the American Finance Association.
- 2013 Esther Duflo, Professor of Economics at MIT and recipient of the 2010 John Bates Clark Medal.
- 2014 Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University. Policy Dilemmas in the Aftermath of Financial Crises.
Full talk on Vimeo.
- 2015 Alvin Roth Professor of Economics at Stanford University and recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for his work on the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design. "The Economist as Engineer: The New Economics of Matching and Market Design".
View the talk here.
- 2016 Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University. "Career & Family: Collision or Confluence".
- 2017 Christina Romer, Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, "In the Wake of Disaster: The Great Recession in Historical Perspective".
- 2018 Susan Athey, The Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, "Big Data, News and Ride Sharing: Aggregators, Intermediaries and Product Quality".