While using insights about human nature to explain economic behavior is as old as the field itself, the sub-discipline of behavioral economics – intersecting classical economic theory with personality and social psychology – is a much more recent phenomenon that has fundamentally changed the way we study economics and human behavior in general. TheBestSchools.org recently named the world’s Top 25 Behavioral Economists, including among them two members of our department: Steve Levitt and John A. List.
[They] are doing some of the most innovative, exciting, and potentially useful intellectual work going on anywhere today…behavioral economists give us insight into how other people—and we ourselves—work that we just can't get from either traditional psychologists or economists alone.
John A. List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, is renowned for his pioneering use of field experiments as a methodology for learning about behavioral principles across different domains. List received the 2010 Kenneth Galbraith Award and the 2008 Arrow Prize for Senior Economists for his research in behavioral economics in the field. The extensive repository of data List has collected provides ongoing insight into discrimination and wage gaps, education incentives, pricing behavior, valuation of non-marketed goods and services, provision of public goods, and charitable giving. Recently he launched the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, a joint venture between the University of Chicago’s Biological Sciences and Social Science Divisions that develops and scales evidence-based interventions that help parents and caregivers optimize foundational brain development in children birth to age five, particularly those born into poverty.
Steve Levitt is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he directs the Becker Friedman Institute's Price Theory Initiative. In 2004, Levitt was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, and in 2006, was named one of Time magazine's “100 People Who Shape Our World.” Levitt co-authored the New York Times Best Seller Freakonomics and its sequel, SuperFreakonomics, featuring new research on topics from terrorism to prostitution to global warming. He also the co-author of the popular Freakonomics Blog.
Of the ranking, James Barham, president and general editor of TheBestSchools.org, states "These people are doing some of the most innovative, exciting, and potentially useful intellectual work going on anywhere today…[they] give us insight into how other people—and we ourselves—work that we just can't get from either traditional psychologists or economists alone." Read the full story here.