Attentional and Perceptual Foundations of Economic Behavior

2018 Summer School on Cognitive Foundations of Economic Behavior

2018 Summer School Details

From the evening of Friday June 29 to noon of Sunday July 8, 2018, the first Summer School on Cognitive Foundations of Economic Behavior will take place in Vitznau, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. The last 2.5 days of the Summer School consist of a workshop in which leading international researchers will present their recent findings in this area of research.

The purpose of the first six days of the Summer School is to introduce graduate students and beginning researchers in economics and related disciplines to findings and methods from economics, psychology and neuroscience that allow features of human attention and perception to be taken into account when modeling economic behavior. The Summer School is part of an initiative sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the NOMIS Foundation, pursuing the idea that many well-documented but seemingly disparate behavioral phenomena – such as framing effects, anchoring or base-rate neglect, as well as hyperbolic discounting, probability weighting or overconfidence – may have a unified explanation in terms of imperfect attention and perceptual error.

The co-organizers and principal faculty of the Summer Institute are Andrew Caplin (NYU), Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich), and Michael Woodford (Columbia University), who will be in attendance for the full program. Teaching faculty will also include Marisa Carrasco (NYU), Katherine Coffman (Harvard), Xavier Gabaix (Harvard), Weiji Ma (NYU), Antonio Rangel (Caltech), and Andrei Shleifer (Harvard), among others.

The program will include lectures and tutorials about economic models of rational inattention, salience, and biases resulting from imprecise mental representations, as well as the psychological and neuroscientific foundations and empirical measurement of imperfect attention and perception. The sessions will outline evidence, principles, empirical methods and formal models that enable the examination of the consequences of imperfect attention and perception for important individual behaviors and markets. The program will also provide opportunities for students to discuss their ideas and research with the organizers, visiting faculty, and other participants.


Participation is restricted to Ph.D. students who by July 2018 will have completed at least one year of their doctoral program, postdoctoral researchers, and to faculty who have only started their faculty position in the fall of 2017 or later. Candidates in related disciplines (e.g., psychology, neuroscience, computational science) who have a strong interest and advanced training in formal economics are also eligible. Most
participant costs during the workshop, including housing and most meals, will be covered, and a capped travel stipend (covering most but not all of anticipated travel costs) will also be provided. About twenty-five participants will be admitted. Participants will be required to complete some assigned readings in advance, and to fully attend all sessions of the program.

There is no application form or program information beyond this announcement. For interested students, schedules of previous conferences organized by the Sloan-Nomis program will give an indication of the kind of topics to be discussed, and can be found under their respective event pages.


To apply, send:

(i) a curriculum vitae
(ii) a statement (maximum three pages) describing any current research, and the general nature of your interest in the cognitive foundations of economics
(iii) an (unofficial) course/grade transcript, and 
(iv) two letters of recommendation from faculty advisors.

All applications must include an e-mail and an alternative means of contact (e.g., phone number). Send your curriculum vita, statement, and course/grade transcript (all collapsed into a single pdf file) to Ask your recommenders to send their letters to the same email address, with the following subject line: Sloan-Nomis recommendation letter for (APPLICANT NAME).

We anticipate a large pool of highly qualified applicants and to make final decisions quickly, so applications and letters must be received by the deadline. Complete applications, including letters of recommendation, must be received by Friday, March 30. We will notify applicants solely through e-mail, by Monday, April 16, and will ask participants to confirm their participation very soon thereafter. Inquiries can be sent to