A group of economists, philosophers, and other scholars met at the University of Pennsylvania on Friday, October 26th and Saturday, October 27th for the Wharton School’s Normative Ethics and Welfare Economics Conference. The sessions addressed topics as diverse as the ethics and economics of climate change, machine learning and discrimination, and the question of whether or not happiness should be a goal of public policy.
Murphy Institute Executive Director Steven M. Sheffrin spoke during the two-day conference’s closing panel, discussing the weekend’s new scholarship in the context of famous work by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, and others. Sheffrin alludes to research on why higher-income people’s headaches are less painful than those of lower-income people and why “in-the-moment utility” can explain shifts in preferences for soda or even natural childbirth. All of the conference panels are viewable on the conference page; Sheffrin’s talk starts at 39:50 in the last video.