Ariel Rubinstein
A Last Course: Economics in Perspective (Spring 2000)

Contact: You are welcome to approach me by phone (640-9601) or e-mail:

The course is indeed over....  and the grades will be given to the school's office on July 6th.   23 studnets have submitted the 5 projects.   The grades are:

95-100    the student expressed nice original ideas

90           nice job (but not beyond)

80           OK

It is not simple to grade the projects and I may have done mistakes.  Feel free to complain if you really feel I am mistaken.

The course is over......   Yet, you need to get a grade.  

Projects:You are required to submit the 5 projects.  Final date for submission July 4th 2000.   Students who will not submit the 5 projects by taht date will not get a grade.  Students are encouraged to send me a message (or leave me a note) with a choice of their "3 best projects". In such a case I will base the grade on these 3 projects only.

Lecture Topic Reading Project


The Rational Man Tversky, A. and Kahanmean,D. "Rational Choice and teh Framing of Decisions", Journal of Business, 59 (1986), 251-278. 1)  Invent an experiment which demonstrates a systematic Deviation from the Rational Man scheme.


The First Welfare Theorem Stiglitz, J. "Whither Socialism" MIT Press 1994. Chapter 3.   


The First Welfare Theorem 2)  Analyze another reason for the failure of the First Fundamental Theorem of Welfare Economics.


The Second Welfare Theorem Stiglitz, J. "Whither Socialism" MIT Press 1994. Chapter 4.  


Distributive Justice Yaari, M. and M. Bar-Hillel "On Dividing Justly", Social Choice and Welfare, 1 (1984), 1-24.  3) write a short essay on the question "what is a fair price"?  


Distributive Justice  


Fairness as a missing constraint Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, Richard Thaler (1986) "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market" The American Economic Review, Vol. 76, No. 4. , pp. 728-741.


Utility and Happiness Daniel Kahaneman "Experienced Utility and Objective Happiness: A Moment-based Approach in D.Kanhneman and A.Tversky (Eds.) Choices, Values and frames (2000) 4) Plan an experiemnt to demonstrate one of the issues explored in the article, or,

Find an economic policy problem where the distinctions made in teha rticle are relevant.    



A case study: "The Market for Babies" Landes,E. and Posner, R. (1978) "The Economics of Baby Shortage", Journal of Legal Studies, 7: 323-348.and Prichard. J. (1984) "A Market for Babies" University of Toronto Law Journal, 34: 341-357.  


Privatization of Prisons Hart, O. A. Schleifer and R.Vishny (1987) "The Proper Scope of Government Theory and an Application to Prisons", QJE 1127-1161 5)Discuss one of the issues: "the market for babies" or :the "privatization of prisons".  

Note:  This was a very experimental course.  My aim was to build a course which will eventually serve as a "last course" in the BA program beinging the point of view that economics has a very very limited messgae to real life issues and that there is a wide room for other type of considerations even when we discuss "economic" issues. I learnt alot from the course: most importantly how difficult it is to build such a course.  One day, I hope to continue this project.