Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar
Abstract: Mainstream economic theory is based on the rationality assumption: that people act as best they can to promote their interests. In contrast, behavioural economics holds that people act by behavioural rules of thumb, often with poor results. We propose a synthesis according to which people indeed act by rules, which usually work well, but may work poorly in exceptional or contrived scenarios. The reason is that like physical features, behavioural rules are the product of evolutionary processes; and evolution works on the usual, the common—not the exception, not the contrived scenario.
Robert J. Aumann is a professor of mathematics, and a founding member of the center for the study of rationality, in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, where he has worked since 1956. His seminal contributions to various topics in microeconomic theory span repeated games, general equilibrium theory, epistemology, decision theory, cooperative games and more. He is the recipient of the John von Neumann Theory Prize for life long contributions to game theory, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
Professor Aumann will be joined by guests Roberto Serrano, Roger Myerson and Yossi Feinberg.
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