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How to bring joy into economics – Revisiting Tibor Scitovsky

The Creativity and Motivations Economic Research Center (CreaM) organizes an International Conference on Tibor Scitovsky's Legacy in Economics. The Conference will be held on 26 and 27 June, 2012 to mark the tenth anniversary of his death. Though the general focus of the Conference will be his breaking down of the boundaries between Economics and Psychology, any paper that draws inspiration from, or expands on, the several contributions of Scitovsky to Economics can be submitted. The deadline for abstract submission is March 1, 2012. The Conference will be held in Gaeta (Italy). The parallel sessions will be hosted by Hotel Mirasole International, whereas the plenary sessions will take place in the Conference Room of the Angevine-Aragonese Castle.

Call for papers

Tibor Scitovsky belonged to that small band of questioning economists who always enjoyed trespassing beyond the established ground of their discipline. Since the beginning of his academic career as Professor of Economics at Stanford University Scitovsky addressed almost every topic considered as relevant by the economics profession: from international trade, to the functioning of monopolistic markets, to welfare and growth, to monetary theory and unemployment. Yet his contribution to these topics always revealed an unexplored path and opened new interpretative keys. Several of these – such as the role of unevenly distributed information, the so called “cost disease” of the service sector, or the role of secondary markets in financial markets – would reveal their importance only years later.

The seventies, however, represented a turning point in his research. Thanks mostly to his discovery of a new body of experimental research in psychology, Scitovsky discovered the role that creative goods and activities, those linked to joyful stimulation, can play in individual and social wellbeing. This approach – expounded in his 1976 book The Joyless Economy - revealed itself to be (though not immediately) extremely fruitful of new insights; these ranged from a new emphasis on the accumulation of consumption skills and the role of education, to the importance of intrinsic motivation in choices, as well as the multiple and often conflicting attributes of individual and social wellbeing.

The aim of the Conference is to draw inspiration from Scitovsky’s original works developing them further and exploring new research topics, including those stimulated by the most recent developments in behavioral economics and experimental psychology. We would welcome proposals in the following areas: the economic and non economic sources of well being; leisure, work satisfaction and time use; education, talent and skills in consumption; the economics of culture and the arts; preference formation and behavioral addiction; equity.

Proposals relating to Scitovsky’s additional contributions are welcome. An abstract of about 400 words for a paper and about 600 words for a session should be submitted no later than March 1st, 2012. Online submission will be accessible starting from December 15th, 2011 through the conference website: http://www.convegni.unicas.it/Scitovsky.

Notification about acceptance of the proposals will be sent to authors by March, 30th, 2012.

Some of the papers might be included in a poster session. The scientific committee will select the most creative poster presentation, whose author will be awarded a special prize consisting in the full refund of the Conference fees and of the hotel costs for the two days of the Conference.

Robert Frank (Cornell University), George Loewenstein (Carnegie Mellon University), Peter Earl (University of Queensland), and Marina Bianchi (University of Cassino), will give the keynote lectures.

Conference fees: The registration fee is 150€ for senior scholars and 100€ for students. The fee includes coffee breaks, two lunches and a Conference dinner. For early registration, before April 30th, 2012 the fees will be 120€ for senior scholars and 80€ for students.

Contacts: Eleonora Sanfilippo, ScitovskyConference@unicas.it

Scientific Committee: Erik Angner (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Antonio Bariletti (University of Cassino), Marina Bianchi (University of Cassino), Maurizio Caserta (University of Catania), Massimo Di Matteo (Universty of Siena), Peter Earl (University of Queensland), Francesco Farina (University of Siena), Francesco Ferrante (University of Cassino), Maurizio Franzini (Sapienza University of Rome), Robert Frank (Cornell University), George Lowenstein (Carnegie Mellon University), Sergio Nisticò (University of Cassino), Maurizio Pugno (University of Cassino), Alois Stutzer (University of Basel).


University of Cassino, CREAM Economics Center (Centro di Analisi Economica CREAtività e Motivazioni)

CreaM is an economic centre for theoretical and applied research. Its focus is on the economic and extra-economic motivations of choices, with particular reference to those choices that are linked to the consumption and production of creative goods and activities. The Centre is at Cassino...

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