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SBS 503 - Explaining Health Behavior: Insights from Behavioral Economics or return to Course Catalog Search

191150 – Section 1   

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthSBSIchiro Kawachi
TermDay and TimeLocation
Spring2 2017  (show academic calendar)MW   1:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.Kresge G1 (HSPH)
2.5  (show credit conversion for other schools)
Credit Level

This course will introduce students to the application of theories from behavioral economics to the field of public health. Individual sessions will cover foundational concepts in behavioral economics, including: a) bounded rationality and dual processing; b) prospect theory and loss aversion, c) asymmetric paternalism and the use of default options; d) the problem of inter-temporal choice and addiction; e) the use of incentives vs. commitments to promote behavior change. Examples of questions posed by the class include: How can we incorporate novel insights from behavioral economics to improve the successful behavior change (e.g. to reduce obesity or promote smoking cessation)?"; "How can incentives be crafted to guide consumer choice? For example, why is a tax on junk foods more effective than subsidies for healthy foods?"

Cross Registration
Eligible for cross-registration
With permission of instructor/subject to availability

MIT students please cross register from MIT's Add/Drop application.

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