Professor Edward Morey

Econ 4060: Ethics, happiness and choice: some research papers by former students.

This page links to some of the research papers by former students. Their includsion on this page does not imply they are perfect, or even A papers. Their inclusions implies that they moved to me think about a concept, assumption, or findings in a different ways, making me change what I assume.

Paul Froger, "I prefer not to know" Reseach on chosen uncertainty and information avoidance

Paul was a French exchange student that attended CU in 2014-15. His research and our discussions of it caused me to change my definition of a "bundle" in Chapter 1. In basic choice theory economists tend to assume full information, but we do not live in such a world. This causes some economists to talk about maximizing expected utility rather than utility. In such a world, more information if it is obtained at zero cost cannot make the individual worse off and will typically make the individual better off. In explanation: more information leads to more informed choices, and this can't be a bad thing. However, as the research Paul uncovered demonstrates people often will not want to know things even if the information could be obtained for free. If fact, sometimes people will pay to not learn certain things (e.g. whether they have HIV).

A way out of the quandary is that knowledge is something that can directly make you better or worse off; it is not something that simply helps us to choice a better bundle, what you know, or don't is part of every conceivable bundle, and affects the ranking of those bundles.

Christopher Baines: The effects of sadness on economic decision-making.

A section of the course, and book, are about how emotions affect behavior. Before Chris wrote his paper, the book did not discuss sadness.

Simon Bilinger, Homo Economicus: A being with free will?

Simon, an exchange student from Sweden, was in the class Spring 2016. Simon started with objective of demonstrating that economists believe in free will in the street sense of the term. His research caused me to change what I say about free will and economists.

Elise Creighton: Research/Experimental Proposal: Drowning in my own choices: Satisfaction in choice as a function of emotinal state and number of alternatives.

Elise took the class Spring 2016: Here paper is one of a few that proposed a research study (of course there was not the time nor money to do the study). Note that reviewing past research is an important part of any research proposal. In class we looked at the research on how emotions affect behavior and choice. Elise was also aware of research that show that people are, in general, less satisfied with their choices, when there are many rather than few alternatives to choose from. Elise decided to proposed a study that combined both of these issues.

Kaitlin Brinton, To choose or not to choose

Kaitlin was a joint major in economics and philosophy. Note that she has only two references: John Stuart Mill's two most famous book (Utilitarianims and On liberty). This is fine because she is saying what she thinks Mill believes, based on his words. Her paper expands on what my book says about Mill.

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Last Update: 08-19-2016