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Learning Objectives

LEARNING OUTCOMES: knowledge of frontier empirical approaches to hypothesis testing in applied economic papers.

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: Knodledge and understanding of statistic and econometric approaches for research hypothesis testing in applied economics.

APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: Capacity of autonomous and original understanding and presentation of research papers in applied economics.

MAKING JUDGEMENTS: Understanding of contents of scientific papers and evaluation of their quality in terms of methodologies.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: powerpoint presentation of scientific papers on applied economics.

LEARNING SKILLS: capacity of studying and understanding scientific papers in applied economics capacity of sketching a research project to test a research hypotheesis.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the area of Behavioural Economics (BE).

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: Students will learn about the main theories of BE as well as the corresponding empirical evidence.

APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: Students will learn how to use BE to better understand seemingly irrational everyday-life behaviour.

MAKING JUDGEMENTS: Students will learn how to differentiate between seemingly and actual irrational behaviour and, more generally, to judge the credibility of empirical results in this research area.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Students will learn how to explain the main theories of BE to non-specialist audiences.

LEARNING SKILLS: Students will learn how to interpret also the contents of other courses through the lens of EC.



Base knowledge of statistics and econometrics


1) The research on subjective wellbeing: life satisfaction/happiness indicators, methodological issues, empirical findings and policy implication
This part of the course deals with applied research on subjective wellbeing. The research developed from the well-known observation of the decoupling between GDP growth and the share of very happy people (Easterlin paradox). We will explain how life satisfaction is measured using cognitive, affective and eudaimonic indicators up to the novel generativity measures. We well deal with methodological issues and empirical research with special focus to the: gender happiness paradox, happiness and health, happiness and education, happiness and relative income). We will conclude on insights and policy implications for the definition of wellbeing indicators
2) Empirical research on corporate social responsibility

The old idea of benevolent planners solving market failures (differences between private and social optimum) has given way to a new more articulated welfare paradigm that takes into account the weakness, conflicts of interest and capture of domestic institution in the global economic system. Corporate social and environmental responsibility thereby emerged as a four-handed approach whether the role of the invisible hand of market mechanisms and the visible hand of institutions is complemented by the third hand of corporate responsibility and the fourth hand of active citizenship that votes with the wallet. In this part of the course we examine some methodological aspects, empirical findings and policy implications of research on corporate social responsibility


Powerpoint presentations
There are no textbooks for the topic
The reference list will be made by a series of published papers that are more updated than textbooks


Easterlin R.A. and Angelescu L., (2009). Happiness and growth the world over: Time series evidence on the happiness-income paradox. IZA Discussion Paper, (4060).

Erikson, E.H. Childhood and Society. (2nd ed.). New York: Norton; 1993.

Erikson, EH & Erikson, JM. The Life Cycle Completed. New York: Norton; 1998.

Frey, B., Luechinger, S. and A. Stutzer, (2009). The life satisfaction approach to the value of public goods: the case of terrorism. Public Choice, 138:317–345.

Frey, B. S. and Stutzer, A., (2000). Happiness, economy and institutions. The Economic Journal, 110, 918–938.

Frey, B. and A. Stutzer, (2002), What can Economists learn from Happiness Research, Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 40, pp. 402-435.

Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2005). Income and Well-being: An Empirical Analysis of the Comparison Income Effect. Journal of Public Economics, 895-6,: 997-1019.

Becchetti L., Ciciretti R., Dalo, A., 2018, Fishing the Corporate Social Responsibility Risk Factors, Journal of Financial Stability, Vol. 37, pp. 25-48,

Becchetti L. Pelloni A. Rossetti F., 2008, Relational Goods, Sociability, and Happiness, Kyklos International Review for social sciences, v. 61, iss. 3, pp. 343-363.

Becchetti L. Rossetti F., 2009, When money does not buy happiness: the case of “frustrated achievers” Journal of Socioeconomics vol. 38(1), pages 159-167.

Becchetti L. and Degli Antoni G. (2010), The Sources of Happiness: Evidence from the Investment. Game, Journal of Economic Psychology, 31, pp.498-509

Becchetti, L., Massari R. and Naticchioni, P., 2013, The drivers of happiness inequality: suggestions for promoting social cohesion Oxford Economic Papers, Volume 66, Issue 2, 1 April 2014, Pages 419–442.

Becchetti L., Pisani F., 2014, Family money, relational life and (class) relative wealth: an empirical analysis on life satisfaction of secondary school students, Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 15, (3), pp 503–525.

Becchetti L., Castriota S., Corrado L., Giachin Ricca E., 2013, Beyond the Joneses: Inter-country income comparisons and happiness, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 45, (C), p. 187-195.

Becchetti, Leonardo, Maria Jua Bachelet, and Fabio Pisani. "Eudaimonic happiness as a leading health indicator: cross-country European evidence." Applied Economics (2020): 1-19.

Becchetti, Leonardo, and Alessandra Pelloni. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?." International review of economics 60.2 (2013): 113-155.

Teaching methods

Presentation of key research paper on some key economic topics and explanation of empirical approches adopted

Exam Rules

Presentation of essays and research papers on the topics covered by the course
Essays will be marked by the professor on a 0-30 scale



Basic knowledge of microeconomics, statistics and econometrics.


# Prospect Theory
# Framing
# Intertemporal Choice
# Non-standard beliefs
# Social Preferences
# Heuristics
# Emotions


There is no textbook for this course but the following article gives a good overview of what is going to be covered:
DellaVigna, S. (2009). Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field. Journal of Economic Literature 47(2), 315-372


Key references for the course:
Charness, G. and M. Rabin (2002). Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 117(3), 817-869
DellaVigna, S. (2009). Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field. Journal of Economic Literature 47(2), 315-372
Frederick, S., G. Loewenstein, and T. O'Donoghue (2002). Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review. Journal of Economic Literature 40(2), 351–-401
Kahneman, D. and A. Tversky (1979). Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk. Econometrica 47(2), 263-292
Loewenstein, G., T. O’Donoghue, and S. Bhatia (2015). Modeling the Interplay Between Affect and Deliberation. Decision 2(2), 55-81
Tversky, A. and D. Kahneman (1974). Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.
Science 185(4157), 1124-1131
Tversky, A. and D. Kahneman (1981). The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice. Science 211(4481), 453–-458

Teaching methods

The course will be taught primarily via lectures and and few exercises for exam preparation.

Exam Rules

The course is 100% assessed through an online take-home exam marked on a scale from 0-30.