The aim of this course is to examine the relevance of human behavior to
the regulation of markets. Our underlying norms, susceptibility to herd
behavior, desire to be accepted, and instinctive reactions to risk and
to change - to name a few examples - may lead to individuals behaving
in ways that undermine regulatory approaches premised on the simple,
calculating,''rational'' actor. Starting from classic literature on the
psychological aspects of market regulation students will learn how to
understand, criticize and improve traditional approaches to regulation
in the light of behavioral insights. They will also learn about new
approaches being taken in the light of those insights. The course will
thus involve mastering theoretical insights from different disciplines,
understanding their relationship to different kinds of market
regulation, and presenting this in written and oral form.
Some of the topics we will consider are:
-How do we understand markets:as a phenomenon apart from social and
ethical constraints, or as embedded in social relationships and norms?
-How do we understand market actors, their motivations, and their
responses to each other and to incentives? How is the idea of a
'rational actor' used?
-What kinds of “market failures” have traditional economic theories used
to justify regulation?
Are these the only failures that could be or should be used to justify
-What regulatory theories and approaches have been used to address the
problems of the global financial crisis to date? What role do these give
to behavioral insights?
-How could more comprehensive thinking about social norms, about human
psychology, about how to produce cultural change within organizations,
and about the
social embedded nature of markets improve regulation and outcomes in
Different kinds of markets will be considered - financial, goods, and
services - and different kinds of regulatory mechanisms - deregulation,
self-regulation, regulation by public/private partnerships, domestic
regulation by state actors, and cross-border
cooperation within transnational regulatory networks.
Interactive lectures with much discussion
Written assignments (80%) and presentation (20%)
Reading material will announced and where appropriate made available via
This course is open to students of the programme Law, Markets and
Behavior, and other masters students.