The purpose of the INSPiRE blog is to provide an introduction to relevant topics in economics and behavioral sciences. We have selected these topics based on our own interests as well as being relevant to understanding the problem this project addresses. In every post we will strive to place the topic in a relatable setting and minimize the use of technical jargon. Our goal is to publish one blog post per month for the duration of the project. Neither Professor Campbell nor I are experienced bloggers, but we hope that with this blog we will be better able to communicate the things we do and find interesting to a wider audience.
We have worked hard to come up with a list of topics that would be both interesting and relevant. We will presume no working knowledge of economics, which should make our blog posts accessible to everyone. Where appropriate we will provide further resources for the interested reader. Over the coming months you can look forward to reading about the concepts of utility, preferences and utility maximization. We will touch on preference construction and learning, and how people make choices between competing options. While economists like to think that people are utility maximizing, that is not always the case, and we will be discussing alternative decision rules such as elimination-by-aspects and satisficing. Regardless of the decision rule governing people’s choices, when faced with complex and difficult ones, they tend to simplify the choice through the use of rules-of-thumb or heuristics.