Odile Poulsen – Behavioural Economist and Avid Knitter
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and main interests in economics?
I did my Ph.D in Growth Theory at the University of Essex, an area of Macroeconomics which is very dominated by the Neo-Classical paradigm. I am now more interested in Behavioral Economics because it is not restricted by this paradigm, and most research in this area seems more realistic and feels closer to real world interactions.
What do you think makes studying Economics at UEA special?
There is a very good atmosphere in the school, the staff are passionate about teaching and really care about the students… Also we teach Behavioral Economics which is a bit of a hot topic at the moment! 🙂
By Dr David Hugh-Jones
This post is about a paper of mine with Carlo Perroni of Warwick University, The Logic of Costly Punishment Reversed. It has just been accepted in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (ungated version at my website).
The germ for this paper came in 2006 at Northwestern University, in a chat with my game theory lecturer, Christoph Kuzmics. He mentioned to me that he was working on evolutionary game theory explanations for costly punishment.
The idea of costly punishment is that people are prepared to pay costs so as to punish bad behaviour or take revenge. For example, if a guy starts a bar fight because you spilled his beer, or someone lectures you for leaving litter, that might be costly punishment. Why is that important? Well, all societies need to maintain order – to prevent crime and ensure that people contribute to community goods. Modern societies have the machinery of the state – the policeman and the tax office – to do this. But throughout history, most people have lived in small societies without states; and there are many kinds of bad behaviour, like littering, that it would be too expensive or intrusive to control using the state’s coercive power. Instead, people in the group must punish bad behaviour, either verbally, financially or physically.