Call for paper: Herbert Simon Society Fourth Workshop – Torino 15 ottobre 2016

Herbet Simon Society

Fourth International Workshop:

In collaboration with Mind and Society

and with
International MAPS  – Master in Public Policy and Social Change and
CPS Department of Cultures, Politics and Society
Collegio Carlo Alberto, University of Turin

With the support of Compagnia di San Paolo

Turin, 15th October  2016


The Herbert Simon Society brings together cognitive scientists, economists, social scientists and philosophers aiming to renew the fundamental concepts of rationality and social action. Starting from the seminal work of Herbert Simon in economics, psychology, computer science, organizational theory, philosophy of science, the HSS wishes to tackle the current debate about the crisis of economic and social rationality, the alternative architectures of mind, the mind-brain relations and the simulation of creativity.


Single papers from all possible disciplines dealing with the topics of the conference can be submitted (see relevant topics below), sending title and extended abstract (up to 800 words) to A pool of referees of the Simon Society will review and evaluate the proposals (according to their relevance, originality and rigor). New and still unpublished papers are mostly welcome.
A special issue of the HSS International Workshop will be published on the journal Mind & Society

The conference fee will be:
250,00 € for seniors (older than 30 years) – 200,00 € in case you have been a membership since last year
150,00 € for juniors (younger than 31 years) – 120,00 € in case you have been a membership since last year
The fee will include the membership to the Simon Society for the year 2016 – 2017.

3 grants of 400 Euros each will be awarded to the best three proposals of junior applicants

We call for papers that cover mainly the following topics:
Behavioral Development Policy
Behavioral Economics
Behavioral Education Policy
Behavioral Environmental Policy
Behavioral Financial Policy
Behavioral Fiscal Policy
Behavioral Health Policy
Behavioral Public Administration
Behavioral Economic Informed Regulation (BUDGE)
Bounded Rationality
Choice Architecture
Cognitive Economics
Default States
Ecological Rationality
Education to Reasoning and Decision Making
Lexicographic Heuristics
Libertarian Paternalism
Moral Behavior in Public Administration
One Reason Decision Making
Rationality and actors’ models in the social sciences
Rationality and cooperation
Rationality, social identities and deliberation in public policies
Recognition-Based Decision Making
Satisficing Heuristics
Social Rules
Social Imitation
Trade-Off Heuristics

The deadline for sending the abstract is 30th August 2016

Acceptance will be communicated by September 15th 2016

Governments rarely rely on behavioural sciences to formulate their regulation activity. Rarely they have  been employed to finalize the rules as a “law making” method or as an appropriate instrument to be used to build a favorable context for citizen’s choices. That has always been under the unlimited control of the jurisprudence in addition to a more recently strong collaboration with the economics and the administrative science. The President  Obama, has marked an innovative discontinuity (with the simultaneous British Prime Minister Cameron). He issued some Executive Orders in which the Federal Agencies were invited to take in consideration the behavioral sciences researches and discoveries to improve the citizens’ well being. Obama doesn’t refer exclusively to the Nudge theory of Thaler and Sunstein (2008), but to the behavioural sciences in general in their several possible applications. Many governments have adopted a behavioral approach similar to the Nudge with frequent positive results, both in Europe (UK, Denmark, German) and overseas (United States, Australia, Canada, Singapore) in different public policies fields, such as taxation, environment, education, health and finance.
An intervention is classified as a nudge when it is not a coercive measure, retains freedom of choice, is based on automatic and reflex responses, does not involve methods of direct persuasion, does not significantly alter economic incentives, and does revise the context of choice according to the discoveries of behavioural economics. What is proposed is therefore a form of libertarian paternalism that has a dual valence. As paternalism, it aims to make up for citizens’ irrational and self-harming tendencies by “gently nudging them” to decide rationally for their own good. In its libertarian form it aims to give the last word to the outcome of the conscious and deliberative processes of the individual citizen who can always choose to resist the nudge. Some crucial problems emerge from this particular choice architecture. First, what rationality (formal, bounded, ecological) model is used by “nudgers” to intervene in the choices made by citizens. Second, there is the question of which phase of the citizens’ decision-making process to intervene in, namely what sort of paternalism to adopt.
Many are the approaches and the critics that go beyond the Nudge theory. There is, for example, a general tendency to employ the behavioral approach inside the regulation. Oliver’s Budge theory (Behavioural Economics Informed Regulation) goes on to oppose the potential damages of the products in different fields like tobacco, alcohol, feeding, informatics, telecommunications, etc through behavioral expedients.
It is shown that Nudge can cause a boomerang effect, negative and opposite to the intention of the choice architects (Dodge).
There is also a disapproval towards Nudge for its tendency to become a Fudge in its double meaning: on one hand, as a low-cost solution, easily joinable, which policy makers can immediately employ and exploit and, on the other hand, as a dangerous and misleading solution, overdoing the human rationality limits and risking the personal freedom of making aware choices.
Finally, there is an approach that prefers to employ education instruments, debiasing and citizen’s awareness to make choices, using the tool – box of heuristics ecologically rational in an environmental context.

Organizational Structure of the Workshop:

Scientific Secretary
Riccardo Viale HSS and Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione, Rome

Steering Committee
Massimo Egidi (LUISS, Rome)
Barbara Fasolo (London School of Economics)
Luigi Marengo (LUISS, Rome)
Marco Novarese (Università del Piemonte Orientale Amedeo Avogadro, Vercelli)
Konstantinos Katsikopoulos (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin)
Francesco Ramella (CSP, Università degli Studi di Torino)
Pietro Terna (Collegio Carlo Alberto, Università degli Studi di Torino)

Organizing Secretariat:
Carlotta Affatato