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The Italian Society of Public Economics announces its XXIX Annual Conference, to be held in Catania, Italy, September 21st and 22nd, 2017 on the topic:

Public Economics and Behavioural Economics

For most of the twentieth century, positive and normative analyses of the public economic sector have been developed starting from simple assumptions about individual behaviour.

Following neoclassical economics, agents have been assumed with stable preferences, selfish enough to satisfy the hypothesis that private resources are used to promote self-interest, endowed with adequate computational skills or at least able to revise mistakes in decision making through learning and market discipline, and able to make expectations which are correct at least in the long run.

This view of a fully rational homo oeconomicus has been increasingly criticised in the last decades by the field of behavioral economics, which lays at the border between economics and psychology and conducts studies that have identified, and in some cases rediscovered, contradictions to classical theory. Many empirical analyses, experimental and from the field, sometimes conducted with other disciplines as in the areas of neuro-economics and physio-economics, have shown how easily individuals make mistakes that are not self-corrected; have indicated that feelings and psychological emotions play a crucial role in determining people economic decisions which don't respond only to purely selfish motivations; have shown that psychological and moral sentiments affect people preferences and welfare, in some cases even their happiness; have challenged the traditional theory of revealed preferences as a basis for welfare analysis.

In addition to criticism, the work on the foundations of economic behaviour has led to more constructive research, in the field of public economics too. The variety of behaviours of individual and groups highlighted by behavioural economics has opened new challenges in the study of the role of the pubic  sector in the economy, requiring renewed efforts by economists and other social scientists to understand the motivations and justifications of public intervention, to sharpen the instruments that the public sector can use, and the effects of its decisions.

A list of topics for the Conference is the following:

1         Public goods, externalities and pro-social behaviour

2         Welfare economics without revealed preferences

3         Taxation and behavioral economics

4         Neo-utilitarianism and happiness research: measures and implications for public intervention

5         Social preferences, moral behaviour and theories of inequality and poverty

6         Myopia, addiction and impatience

7         Asymmetric paternalism, nudging and new policy instruments

8         Public choice and political economy with non-standard economic agents

9         The evaluation of public policies and behavioral economics

10     How neuroeconomics and physioeconomics can inform public sector economics

11     Behavioral public economics in the history of economic thoughts

The keynote speakers will be Valentino Dardanoni, University of Palermo, Italy, and Arthur Schram, Amsterdam School of Economics.

Proposal for presentations at the Conference will have to be submitted by this website from 20 February 2017 to 10 June 2017. Submitted papers should include an abstract, JEL codes and keywords.

The Scientific Committee encourages submissions of work in progress.

Papers on topics that do not fit into the main theme of the Conference will be considered for inclusion in the general sessions of the Conference.

By June 25th 2017, the Conference Scientific Committee, composed by Michele Bernasconi (Università Ca' Foscari), Isidoro Mazza (Università di Catania), and Massimo Paradiso (Università di Bari) will inform Authors about the acceptance of their paper.

The Scientific Committee will be assisted by scholars who kindly accepted to collaborate to select papers and organize contributed and invited sessions.

Proposals of invited sessions are also welcome by the Scientific Committee.

The authors of accepted papers will become members of the SIEP (Italian Society of Public Economics) and will be asked to confirm their presentation by registering before September 6, 2017. The membership fee is 120 euros. Registration form and fee payment instructions will be available at the following link:

The 2017 SIEP Conference will also hostthe 2017 SIEP prize reserved to authors under the age of thirty-five; and the Etta Chiuri prize reserved to economists under the age of forty who submit to the Prize Jury papers on household decision-making process, housing market imperfections, illegal migration.

All the details on Etta Chiuri prize will be available at:

SIEP members are invited to circulate the call for papers to all potentially interested colleagues. Call for papers and further announcements about the Conference will be published on the SIEP website:

Michele Bernasconi

SIEP President 

Pavia, December 2016