Yale Behavioural Sciences (Economics, Finance, Marketing) PhD FAQ

This page is an attempt to centralize information on all the great things you should look out for if you are an incoming, new or visiting PhD student interested in some intersection of Psychology and Economics at Yale.  One obvious caveat: this was put together by me, a student in the Financial Economics program, so expect it to be biased accordingly. It has benefited (so far) from the input and corrections of Andrew Meyer (Behavioural Marketing), Rosanna Smith (OB), and Gordon Kraft-Todd (soon to be Psych). If you have any additions or corrections please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment and I will edit, thanks.


1. What seminars are going on I that should take a look at?

·      Behavioural Marketing

o  Informal biweekly lunchtime reading group will cover some papers of interest - to see what's on the schedule, ask a PhD student in the group (currently Ernest Baskin organises) to get on the list.

o   Formal Friday seminars tend to be non-behavioural quantitative marketing topics.

·      OB

o   Schedule of regular seminars (external presenters)

·      Finance seminars

o    Weekly ICF seminar on Fridays will from time to time have behavioural finance presenters.

o    Less regular, informal 'IFLIP's also have relevant material - take Nick Barberis's class and ask to get on the list if interested.  We will also have visitors or visiting speakers on a non-Friday schedule: this has over the past couple years ranged from seniors such as Andrei Shleifer (Harvard) and Martin Weber (Mannheim) through to Marianne Andries (Toulouse) and Alex Imas (Carnegie Mellon).

·      SOM Student workshops

o    If interested in any behavioural marketing, OB, or finance topics, contact the SOM PhD program administrator to ask about getting added to the list.  Currently that is Beth Ann Bretter.

·      Department of Economics seminars

o   Micro theory, Development (and others) will have talks of interest to behavioural folks from time to time.  Check the titles of upcoming talks in the full calendar here.

·      Law and Economics (LEO) workshop organized by Christina Jolls.

·      Psychology has both less frequent keynote style talks (of more general interest) as well as regular lab/group presentations of current work.

·      Cog Sci

2. What relevant classes are offered?

·      Behavioural and Institutional Economics, Shiller – ECON/SOM

o   Probably the broadest offering at Yale. Comprehensive reading list of behavioural economics and finance literature.

o   Lecture format, largest of behavioural class offerings.  Caters to masters, PhD, and college students. 

·      Behavioural Decision Making I and II, Novemsky & Dhar – SOM

o   Read and discuss papers in the JDM literature on a weekly basis.  Different parts offered in subsequent years (I,II) address judgment and choice topics respectively.

o   PhD level, some undergrads admitted.  Class size capped to large reading group size (15?). 

·      Behavioural Economics, Frederick – SOM

o   (in recent years) targets both PhD and undergraduate students.

·      Behavioural Finance, Barberis – ECON/SOM

o   PhD-level (but the occasional statistics masters student or advanced undergraduate takes for credit).  Small formal class size in the past (5-10) but more people audit to get the benefit of covering the material.

·      Neuro Economics (ECON/NEURO)

o    This is offered every two years by Ifat Levy.

·      Psychology and Cognitive Science have many more specialised and fundamental offerings


3. What conferences should I keep an eye out for?

·      At Yale:

o   Whitebox Student Conference

§  Yale(SOM and Econ)-organised, students from other universities are invited to present their work here in April each year.

o   Behavioural Science conference

§  Usually the day after Whitebox.   Grown-ups present at this one.

o   Other ad-hoc workshops (e.g. we recently had the “Perception and Choice” workshop, or “Art, Minds and Markets” conference both in early 2014) .

·      Outside of Yale:

o   BDRM (Behavioural Decision Making Research in Management)

§  Takes place every two years and changes location.  Current year of conference is 2014.

o   Boulder Consumer Financial Decision Making

§  Nice mix of regulators and academics.

§  Probably only possible (at best) to present work as a poster if you are submitting as a PhD student – the poster session is high quality, so do not take this as a negative!

o   The European Economic Association meetings (EEAs and ESEMs) tend to have a lot behavioural economics (and experimental economics) sessions.  There is also some encouragement (via grants/awards) for young researchers to attend and present.  Previous years' programs are available through their website.

o   Miami Behavioural Finance Conference

o  NBER Behavioural Economics and Household Finance

§  Travel grants are available for advanced doctoral students to attend the Summer Institute.

Network for Integrated Behavioural Sciences (NIBS)

    §  Household financial decision making conference/workshop

o Russell Sage Foundation conference for early-career behavioural economists 

o   SJDM

§  Especially relevant for marketing/applied psych students.

o   Tilburg Psychology and Economics conference (TIBER)

4. What behavioural-specific workshops might be good to attend?

·      Rady/Choice Lab Spring School

o   Only in its second year, but recently attended by both Psych and SOM students from Yale.  Short, compact, and enjoyable.

o   Chance to get feedback on your work in evening poster sessions

o   The Choice Lab also offers additional PhD workshops held in Oslo.

·      Russell Sage Behavioural Economics Summer Institute

o   Two weeks in July with deadlines for applications in mid-March  It is held only once every two years, and from all accounts is quite competitive to get into given the limited number of seats available.

·      Summer School of the Econometric Society, Korea, on “Bounded Rationality and Behavioral Economics”

·      Behavioural Finance summer school – organized by Nick Barberis and Bob Shiller

o   Typically intended for external students but there are also many guest lectures from speakers not normally at Yale.  Alternates years with the Russell Sage Behavioural Economics camp (so its last year was 2013).

5. Anything else?
  • Relevant faculty - if you're interested in which Yale faculty are particularly associated with work in these areas, the JDM lab keeps (kept?) a page tracking people at Yale (which you can also get yourself added to if you ask I believe) at http://jdm.som.yale.edu/people.htm.
  • External email lists - I have found the SJDM one quite useful for digests of notices, and have had the the experimental econ society's listserve recommended to me also.
  • Informal Behavioural Econ (and Finance) reading group made up of dept of Econ and Fin Econ PhD students, ask me for details and sample of recent papers we've gone through.

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