Economics: Brain, Behavior and Institutions

Economics is a science about choices people make when they face resource scarcity, and aggregate effects of these choices. Generally, human’s decisions are shaped by two huge forces: internal – their own brains, and external – institutions. Brain processes rewards and risks, learns and motivates actions. Repetitive behavioral patterns are routinized, exchanged and adopted, and finally emerge into constantly evolving institutions. 

Throughout the course we time after time start from the middle layer of this scheme: behavior, which students exhibit during classroom experiments. We then discuss experiments, build agent-based models of behavior, and then move in two directions: toward biology, and toward institutions, studying how individual choices are made, and what that might mean in aggregated sense. We learn to construct economic structures behind empiric material and explain observed behavior from institutional and neuroeconomic frameworks. 

Alexander Didenko:

Alexander Didenko is Assistant Professor in the Financial University under the Government of Russian Federation and Head of the Laboratory of Managerial Neuroscience in the Institute of Business Studies RANEPA. In his past career he created algorithms for trading in financial markets, was banking and education executive. Later he co-founded several startups, in which he contributed his skills and knowledge in marketing and data science. In 2003 he acquired PhD degree from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. His dissertation was at the interception of behavioral economics and data science. As researcher he initially was interested in quantitative and psychological aspects of decision-making under uncertainty/risk, and studies, applying principles and models of complexity science to the field of financial economics. Later his interests extended and now include institutional economics, innovation and business studies, and neuroscientific aspects of economics and management.