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Newsletter 77: May 6, 2013

CDS Weekly Newsletter
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The Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia Business School

Welcome to the Center for Decision Sciences' Weekly Newsletter. Below you can find a list of events of interest. 

We welcome constructive feedback and suggestions to improve this newsletter. You may unsubscribe from this newsletter (but remain on our mailing list for other information) by clicking here and unchecking “Receive Newsletter.”
Upcoming seminars of potential interest at Columbia
Monday, May 06
12.10-1.30, Schermerhorn 200B (Psych Dept Social Cognitive Snack)
         Master’s Talks
         iCal (to add this event to your calendar)
For more information on Psych Dept Cognitive Snack:
2.30-4.00, IAB 1101 (Economic Theory Workshop)
         Joel Watson
         Contractual Chains
         iCal (to add this event to your calendar)
For more information on Economic Theory Workshop:
Tuesday, May 07
12.30-1.30, 332 Uris
         Management Division Seminar
         Bruno Cassiman (IESE)
         "Innovation and Markups: Firm Level Evidence"
For more information on Management Division Seminar:
4.15-5.45, 1101 IAB
         Money Macro Seminar
         Haral Uhlig
         Financial Health Economics (with Ralph Koijen and Tomas Philipson)
For more information on the Money macro seminar:
Wednesday, May 08
4.15-5.45, 1101 SIPA
         Applied Microeconomics: Environment, Health, Labor and Public Finance Seminar
         Jon Gruber
         Evolving Choice Inconsistencies in Choice of Drug Insurance: Do Choices Improve Over Time? (with Jason Abaluck)
         iCal (to add this event to your calendar)
For more information on the applied microeconomics seminars:
Upcoming seminars of potential interest at NYU
Monday, May 06
2.00-4:30, Medical Center; NYC 10016; phone: (212) 263-5438; Skirball Institute
         Neuroscience Colloquia
         Indira Raman (Northwestern)
         iCal (to add this event to your calendar)
For more information on the NYU Neuroscience Colloquia :
4.30-5.30, Dept of Economics, 19 West 4th Street, Room 517; Applied Microeconomics Workshop
         Joe Kaboski (Notre Dame)
         “Two Studies of Finance in Africa”
         iCal (to add this event to your calendar)
Tuesday, May 07
2.30-4.00, Dep of Economics; 19 West 4th Street, Room 517; Neuroeconomics Seminar
         Roozbeh Kiana (NYU)
         “Response dynamics of lateral intraparietal neurons represent choice certainty”
         Abstract: The degree of certainty in a decision reflects the subjective belief about the likelihood of desired outcomes and plays an important role in adaptive regulation of behavior. Although neural mechanisms of perceptual decisions have been studied extensively in primates, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying choice certainty. In my talk I will focus on our recent advances in understanding those mechanisms. When we give rhesus monkeys the opportunity to bet on their choices in a direction-discrimination task the monkey's wagers reflect confidence about the reported motion direction. Our electrophysiological recordings from parietal cortex demonstrate that the same neurons that represent formation of the decision encode certainty about the decision. The behavior and the neural responses in our latest experiments show that choice certainty is tightly linked to both stimulus strength and reaction time, indicating that certainty is as strongly influenced by the dynamics of neural responses during decision-making as by the state of responses at the time of decision. 
         iCal (to add this event to your calendar)
For more information on the Neuroeconomics Seminar:
Wednesday, May 08
4.00-5.00, Dept of Economics; 19 West 4th Street, Room 517; Microeconomic Theory Workshop
         Michael Ostrovsky (Stanford)
         “Information Aggregation in Dynamic Markets with Strategic Traders”
         iCal (to add this event to your calendar)
For more information on the Microeconomic Theory Workshop:
Wednesday, May 08
12.00-2.00, Schermerhorn 501
         Keynote Address
         Cass Sunstein (Harvard)
         “Automatically Green
Careful attention to choice architecture promises to open up new possibilities for environmental protection – possibilities that go well beyond the standard tools of economic incentives, mandates, and bans. How, for example, do consumers choose between environmentally-friendly products or services and alternatives that are potentially damaging to the environment but less expensive? The answer may well depend on the default rule. Indeed, green default rules may well be a more effective tool for altering outcomes than large economic incentives. The underlying reasons include the power of suggestion; inertia and procrastination; and loss aversion. If well-chosen, green defaults are likely to have large effects in reducing the economic and environmental harms associated with various products and activities. Such defaults may or may not be more expensive to consumers. In deciding whether to establish green defaults, choice architects should consider both consumer welfare and a wide range of other costs and benefits. Sometimes that assessment will argue strongly in favor of green defaults, particularly when both economic and environmental considerations point in their direction. But when choice architects lack relevant information, when interest-group maneuvering is a potential problem, and when externalities are not likely to be significant, active choosing, perhaps accompanied by various influences (including provision of relevant information), will usually be preferable to a green default.

Weblink of the week

Give and Take

In his book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Adam Grant, a professor of management at Wharton, shares research which suggest that some of the most successful people — not just in business, but in many realms — are in fact classic “givers,” people who genuinely try to help those around them.