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STICERD Public Events and Lectures

STICERD and the Hayek Programme in Economics and Liberal Political Economy, and the Department of Social Policy

Hayek Programme in Economics and Liberal Political Economy Lecture

Optimally Irrational. The good reasons we behave the way we do

Lionel Page (University of Queensland)

Monday 09 October 2023 18:30 - 19:45

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

A public lecture by Professor Lionel Page on the topic of his latest book: 'Optimally Irrational. The good reasons we behave the way we do'. The lecture is hosted by STICERD and the Department of Social Policy and supported by the Hayek Programme in Economics and Liberal Political Economy.

Listen to a recording of the event:

For a long time, economists have portrayed humans as cold, selfish, and logical decision-makers - otherwise known as Homo economicus. However, this presumption has been shattered in the past few decades. Behavioural economics, as a discipline, has unveiled a range of intriguing dimensions of behaviour, leading to the opposite view that humans are deeply flawed decision-makers riddled with cognitive biases. In his book "Optimally Irrational," Lionel Page contests this pessimistic view of human behaviour. Using insights from economic theory, cognitive sciences, and evolutionary biology, he argues that the so-called 'biases' are typically not detrimental but rather constructive solutions to real-world challenges. In essence, many of the 'imperfections' spotlighted by behavioural economics are, in fact, adaptively advantageous. "Optimally Irrational" provides a comprehensive synthesis of behavioural economics literature, interweaving a detailed examination of these perceived flaws and their meaning. Through this journey, it offers a unified perspective on human behaviour across the social and natural sciences. 

Lionel Page is the Director of the Behaviour and Economic Science Cluster at the University of Queensland. He is a behavioural economist who has published extensively in the different areas of this discipline, including decisions under risk, time preferences, social preferences, and strategic thinking. He has published more than 50 scientific papers, and his research has been discussed in leading media such as the New York Times, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and The Australian.

Dr Barbara Fasolo will be chairing the event.

Dr Barbara Fasolo is Associate Professor in Behavioural Science at the Department of Management. She co-founded and leads the LSE Behavioural Lab for Research and Teaching. She is a leading scholar in Judgment and Decision Making. Her experimental research on honesty, decision technology and choice processes in the presence of uncertainty has been published in leading outlets incl Nature, Annual Review of Psychology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Science Advances.  Before joining the LSE, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Adaptive Behaviour of Cognition group in Berlin (Max Planck) – researching bounded rationality (or optimal irrationality?).

This event will be a hybrid event, with an in-person audience in the LSE's Hong Kong Theatre (Ground Floor, Clement House, LSE, 99 Aldwych, London WC2B 4JF) and an online audience.
For the in-person event: No ticket or pre-registration is required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.
For the online event: Register for this event via zoom.

For any event queries email l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.