Economics serving society

Policy briefs

Within the framework of the Opening economics Chair, policy briefs are regularly published to clarify specific research topics related to the chair’s research.

February 2024

Hard choices by Akshath Jitendranath

In this policy brief, Akshath Jitendranath discusses the concept of hard choices. Specifically, we get to see why studying hard choices requires an interdisciplinary approach that combines economics and philosophy. We also get to see what policy implications a sound analysis of hard choices can have.

January 2024

The role of neighborhood deprivation in shaping health inequalities by Laura Silva

This research aims at assessing the role of neighborhood deprivation on individual health in England, exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic and related non-pharmaceutical interventions as a quasi-exogenous highlighter of neighborhood inequalities, as people had to spend more time in their residential area. Examining both well-being dimensions and health-risk behaviors, two studies unveil that neighborhood deprivation play a crucial role in shaping health outcomes. The research highlights the need to address structural neighborhood disparities, taking a comprehensive approach to build resilience, promote equal health resources across neighborhoods and mitigate health-related risks, addressing current challenges while preparing for potential future crises.

October 2023

Motivated beliefs may root in biased (reinforcement) learning by Maël Lebreton and Stefano Palminteri

In this policy brief, Maël Lebreton and Stefano Palminteri show how the analysis of human choices made in a reinforcement learning task, traditionally used to study the neural bases of animal behaviour, can enlighten economic theories on the origin of optimism and overconfidence biases. This exercise highlights the value of experimental and analytical tools derived from cognitive neuroscience for understanding economic behaviour and its apparent anomalies.

September 2023

When sociologists and economists team-up by Stefanie DeLuca

In this interview, Stefanie DeLuca highlights the complementarity between the approach of experimental economics on the field and qualitative interviewed conducted in sociology. She points out how interviews can help understand the mechanisms behind the quantitative results obtained with the economics methods.

June 2023

Community forest management: the story behind a success story in Nepal by François Libois

Among the “Green success stories”, Nepal is systematically highlighted as an example of successful community management of forests and more generally natural resources. This work assesses the contribution of forest user groups to the expansion and densification of Nepalese forests. The interdisciplinary team also seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying this success: access to alternative energies, limiting grazing in the forest, natural regeneration and planting. Understanding these mechanisms depends on the ability to adapt the participatory management model for the future of Nepal but also for other contexts.

May 2023

Evolutionary game theory and the emergence of morality by Jörgen Weibull and Jean-François Laslier

In this joint interview, Jörgen Weibull and Jean-François Laslier discuss their research on game theory. Their discussion leads them to develop the concept of evolutionary game theory, which is related to the Darwinian theory of natural selection. This concept allows us to understand the evolution of human behaviour, also using concepts from moral philosophy. In a second step, the discussion focuses on the use of game theory in understanding political life.

April 2023

Collaborating for sustainable development: the role of cofinancing in shaping outcomes of Chinese lending and overseas development finance projects by Yangsiyu Lu, Cecilia Springer and Bjarne Steffen

New research finds that greater collaboration through cofinancing with international and local partners can enhance infrastructure project success and achieve more sustainable performance in Chinese overseas development finance, highlighting the importance of a collaborative approach in international development finance.