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Faculty Focus: Neil Bendle on Behavioural Economics for Kids

  • Communications
  • |
  • Jul 1, 2013

Teachers often use real-life examples that students can relate to in lessons in order to make the material more memorable. 

Ivey Assistant Professor Neil Bendle  has taken that concept one step further in creating a cartoon e-book, Behavioural Economics for Kids, which depicts children's thoughts and actions, to teach behavioural economics in the classroom.

The e-book summarizes 14 key concepts of behavioural economics using examples from children's behaviour to illustrate each point. For instance, it explains the endowment effect, which is the extra attachment people feel to objects they own, by applying it to the attachment children have with their toys.

The book was based on some of the behaviours of his own daughters - Maura, 4, and Pippa, 2 - and was illustrated by Bendle's father-in-law, Philip Chen. 

Although created for fun, Bendle said the e-book has valuable lessons for managers.

"Obviously, in the book, we're talking about how children behave, but the idea is that behaviours go much further. Consumers behave like this and managers behave like this," he said. "One of the things I'd like from this is for managers to think about how they behave as well."

Bendle has already discussed the book with students in his decision-making PhD seminar and he plans to use it to teach behavioural economics concepts to other Ivey students in the classroom.

"In order to write a cartoon book, you need to be really clear and simple. It's like a memory aid for students," he said. "Clearly, they're not going to get a doctoral reading this book, but it is fun."

For more information on Bendle's e-book, please see ING eZonomics article.