The Keynote session of Decision Economics 2021 will be opened by Professor Shu-Heng Chen (National Chengchi University, Taipei) who will deliver an opening address in commemoration of Paul Wang, Professor Emeritus at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) and early pioneer in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
Alessandro Roncaglia, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Rome, La Sapienza (Italy); Member of the Presidency Council of Lincei, National Academy of Sciences (Rome, Italy)
Alessandro Roncaglia (Rome, 1947) is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, after being a professor of economics at the same University (1981-2017). After graduating with Paolo Sylos Labini, he studied in Cambridge (UK) with Piero Sraffa in the seventies. He has also taught Economics at the University of Perugia (Italy), Rutgers University (New Jersey), Université de Nice (France), and Université Nanterre in Paris (France). He served as the Editor-in-chief of the economic journals "Moneta e Credito" and "PSL Quarterly Review" (1989-2016) and a member of their Editorial boards since 1979. He served, too, as Managing editor in the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics since its foundation in 1978. He was a member of Società Italiana degli Economisti - Italian Society of Economists (presidency Council, 1992-95; President, 2010-2013). He is currently the president of Associazione Culturale Economia Civile - Cultural Association of Civil Economy since its foundation in 2011, and a member of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei - Lincei, National Academy of Sciences (1998-2007 corresponding member; since 2007, national member; joint academic administrator and member of the Presidency council, 2018-today). Author of dozens and dozens of scientific papers as well as essential books translated into many languages worldwide, from Spanish to Chinese, from Japanese to Russian, from Korean to Catalan. Among these books, "Piero Sraffa" (Macmillan Palgrave, 2009) and the renowned "The wealth of ideas" (Cambridge University Press, 2005), the Italian edition of which (Laterza 2001) received the Jerome Blanqui Award of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought in 2003. His latest book, "The age of fragmentation: A history of contemporary economic thought" (Cambridge University Press, 2019), is already a best seller as well as another international milestone to help provide advanced education in economics. He edited and presented a series of 26 television broadcasts to disseminate the history of economic thought entitled "The pin factory" for Rai, Italian radio and television.
Decision theory is commonly subdivided into three different fields, concerning decision-making under certainty, risk and uncertainty. Under certainty conditions, once the data of the problem are known (the sets of actions of their outcomes and the pay-out—utility, or money—associated with them), the analytical techniques of utility maximisation or loss minimisation are traditionally assumed to provide the required answers. Under conditions of probabilistic risk, whenever the data of the problem (now including the probability distributions of outcomes) are known, the solutions are traditionally assumed to be easily obtainable. When considering decisions under uncertain conditions, different approaches enter the arena, and, as we shall see, the essential distinctive characteristics concern the very notion of uncertainty and its treatment. Two seminal works in this respect were both published in 1921, one hundred years ago, independently from one another: John Maynard Keynes's Treatise on probability and Frank Knight's Risk, uncertainty and profit. The two books are often quoted together as if they had a common theme and a common approach. However, this preconception is wrong, at least on the first account. Probability and uncertainty are the main topics for Keynes and an instrumental one for Knight. Keynes's treatment is more systematic and, especially, is free of any connection to marginalist theory; rather, the development of his thought in economics will show that his views on probability and uncertainty provide the foundations for a radical critique of the marginalist approach and for building a novel approach. The mainstream approach to decision theory builds not so much on Keynes and Knight but rather on von Neumann and Morgenstern (1944); as Herbert Simon realised, a different approach is required if we adopt Keynes's views on probability and uncertainty. Once again, we shall see how the history of economic thought may greatly help examine theoretical debates by clarifying commonly overlooked conceptual differences. Focusing on this, I will not consider here the theoretical developments of decision theory over the last decades.
Nobuyuki Hanaki, Professor of Economics at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University (Japan); Director of the Research Center for Behavioral Economics, Osaka University (Japan)
Nobuyuki Hanaki is a Professor of Economics at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University (Japan). He is also the Director of the Research Center for Behavioral Economics at the same Institute. In 2003-2005, he was a post-doc at the Earth Institute, Columbia University (New York) where he had previously earned his M.A., M.Phil. and PhD. After teaching at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, between 2005- 2009, from 2009 to 2019, he worked in France. First at the Aix-Marseille Université (in particular at Aix-Marseille School of Economics), and then at Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (currently Université Côte d'Azur). Also, he has been the recipient of numerous honours, distinctions, scholarships and research grants, including prestigious junior membership to the Institute Universitaire de France (2010-2015). His main research interest lies in understanding the aggregate consequences of interactions among heterogeneous decision-makers. He employs mathematical and computational modelling, as well as controlled laboratory experiments in his research. Results of his research have been published in several journals as Economic Journal, Management Science, Games and Economic Behavior, European Economics Review, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.
In the Lecture, Professor Hanaki will discuss the relationships between the "measured" cognitive ability of experimental subjects and their behaviour as observed during experimental laboratory research. Based on these experimental findings, he will discuss the macroeconomic implications of micro-level "boundedly rational" individual behaviour. In particular, he will discuss the importance of "strategic complementarity" for micro-level boundedly rational behaviour to have an aggregate impact. The Lecture will also address potential problems that may arise when insufficient attention emerges, and little effort is devoted to significant differences in the measured cognitive ability of experimental subjects effectively managing work across several laboratories and hundreds of participants and researchers. These problems increasingly influence the replicability of existing experimental results, too, but also the interpretation of results from cross-country experimental analyses. This is why Professor Hanaki has proposed complementing participants' databases with individual characteristics, including cognitive abilities and behavioural and emotional experiences. Indeed, Professor Hanaki and his research group have started to complete an experimental subject database at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University, with various individual, human characteristics, such as cognitive ability, personality traits, risk preference, and theory of mind. The effort is not yet complete, but once it is done, Professor Hanaki will recruit participants based on their own characteristics and conduct experiments to understand better the economic behaviour among experimental subjects with various human features and skills. This fundamental step represents a breakthrough for economic theory and practice experimentation, especially for cross-cultural Experimental Economics.