Economics and Psychology One Day Session

Economics and Psychology One Day Session: UCD Geary Institute

We will be hosting a session on Economics and Psychology in the UCD Research Building on November 23rd. Those who wish to attend should RSVP to Philippa Barrington at Please indicate whether you wish to attend the full-day session or the keynote lecture by Professor Laibson only. The programme is below. There is no registration fee.


10.00am – 10.30am
Martin Ryan (UCD)  “The Role of Economic Psychology and Non-Cognitive Skill in Students’ Lecture Attendance and Academic Achievement”

10.30am – 11am
Liam Delaney (UCD)  “Automatic Enrollment and the Irish Pension System”

11am – 11.20am: Coffee

11.30am – 12pm
Cormac O’Dea (IFS and UCL). “Cognitive function, numeracy and retirement saving trajectories”

12pm – 12.30pm
Marie Briguglio (University of Malta). “Voluntary Pro-Environmental Behaviour”.

1230pm – 1pm
Michael Daly(TCD) “How income relates to life satisfaction and daily emotional experience: Evidence from the American Life Panel”


2pm – 2.30pm
Mick O’Connell (UCD) “Variation in ‘Returns to Education’ and academic performance by country in OECD’s PISA science scores”

2.30pm to 3pm
Robert Metcalfe (Oxford) “Behavioural Economics TBA”

3pm – 3.30pm
Peter Lunn (ESRI) “What Can I Get For It? A theoretical and empirical re-analysis of the endowment effect.”

3.30pm – 4pm Coffee

4pm – 5.30pm: Keynote Speaker.

David Laibson (Harvard) “Natural Expectations and Economic Behavior”

4 replies on “Economics and Psychology One Day Session”

> Cormac O’Dea (IFS and UCL).
> “Cognitive function, numeracy and retirement saving trajectories”


(NPRF) In order to be able to pay out pension benefits by 2025 – though the fund will be cashflow positive until the late 2030s “because of our favourable demographics” – the NPRF continues to hold a combination of equities, bonds, cash and alternative investments, though the allocation of global large cap equities in particular is being reduced in favour of more small caps and emerging market equities, cash, private equity, absolute return funds, property and commodities, such as forestry.

So is he optimistic that the markets and western economies will make the kind of recovery that will produce the kinds of returns that will fulfil the Irish pension mandate?

“Yes, I am optimistic that the worst of the impacts of the over-leveraging excesses that took place have been absorbed by investors.” And while there may still be “bits and pieces of bad news”, like in our case the continuing fall in the price of Irish property, the difficulties in the indebted west will be offset by the thriving economies of Asia in particular, where 10% of the NPRF is now invested.

Even a double dip recession in the United States, should it happen, shouldn’t “affect our strategic allocation” unless there was an extreme swing, he says.

The head of the NPRF admits he is concerned about what could happen as a consequence of more quantitative easing – effectively the printing of money – by central banks in their effort to stimulate their economies. There may be no sign of inflation right now, he says, but the possibility of “politicians feeling that they may be unelectable [if the recession proceeds] and so will turn on the printing presses,” a decision was taken to shore up the fund’s collection of inflation-linked bonds.

“The same rationale for buying inflation linked bonds is the same rationale for our investment in infrastructure and commodities,” he explains, “both of which would typically be very good inflation hedges.” The fund is even adding gold to the portfolio, which he describes more “as a currency than a commodity and a hedge for the risk averse.”


My claim that China has some deep-rooted problems which will be especially difficult to resolve, especially in a world of sluggish demand growth, was, for many I think, a serious downer, especially in Argentina. I also discussed why I believed that deepening imbalances in the world, set off especially by the financial crisis in the trade-deficit countries of Europe, would make global trade tensions much worse and would make the adjustment for trade surplus countries like China, Germany and Japan all the more difficult. My European friends generally agreed, very glumly, with the logic of the argument, although for all the heroic efforts of the likes of Martin Wolf at the Financial Times a surprisingly large number of people had not made the connection.

I worked in a pension company recently that suddenly found itself undercapitalised – and was disappointed to see that the ‘rockstar’ managers we quite cynically selling themselves to shareholders as providers of the highest-possible & shortest-term returns.

I daresay these practices have become widespread.

I wonder at the cognitive ability of people who drop their nest-eggs on the roulette wheel of prospective eternal growth in a world of resource depletion and ageing (western) populations..

I went to a lecture on psychoacoustics once. All very interesting. I wonder if there are the psychological and physiological responses associated with economics?

Judging by some of the responses to MK’s article earlier this week the answer is probably “yes”…… ho hum.

Comments are closed.