SDSU Nasatir Hall building

Roger S. Frantz

Roger S. FrantzEmail: [email protected] | View CV 

Roger Frantz has been a faculty member in the department of Economics at SDSU since 1978, attaining the rank of Full Professor in 1985. His fields of research are the history of economic thought, and behavioral economics. He is the Founding Editor of the Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy. Since 2019 he has served as Special Issues Editor. Beginning in 2018 he has served as the Editor for the Routledge Advances in Behavioral Economics and Finance. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics, 2014-2020. He teaches Behavioral Economics through the Department of Psychology at SDSU. Between 2005-08 he was the Interim Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. His latest book is, The Beginnings of Behavioral Economics (El Sevier/ Academic Press). His published books books include, Handbook of Behavioral Economics. London: Routledge, 2016. (Editor); Minds, Models, and Milieux. Commemorating the Centennial of the Birth of Herbert Simon. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015. Co-editor with Leslie Marsh; Frederick Hayek and Behavioral Economics. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012. Co-editor with Robert Leeson. Renaissance in Behavioral Economics. Essays in Honor of Harvey Leibenstein. London: Routledge, 2007. (Editor); Two Minds. Intuition and Analysis in the History of Economic Thought. London: Springer, 2005, and  X-Efficiency. Theory, Evidence, and Applications. Norwell, Mass.: Kluwer Academic Pub., 1988. Second edition, 1997. He is also the author of “Adam Smith: Polymath.” In Propriety and Prosperity: New Studies on the Philosophy of Adam Smith. Leslie Marsh, editor. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015; “Rationality, Globalization, and X-Efficiency.” In, Behavioral Economics With Smart People. Morris Altman, editor. Edward Elgar, 2015, and several entries in Real World Decision Making: An Encyclopedia of Behavioral Economics. Morris Altman, editor. Santa Barbara: Praeger. 2015. He has published numerous articles in academic journals including the American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings; Southern Economic Journal; Journal of Economic Psychology, Public Choice, Journal of Socio-Economics, Journal of Behavioral Economics, World Development; Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics, and; Economics and Philosophy.


The Journal of the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE). Learn more about the journal.

Behavioural Economics and Public Opinion. By Cass Sunstein and Lucia Reisch. 2019.

Routledge hardcover books range in size from 60,000 to 130,000 words, and includes research monographs, edited volumes, conference or workshop volumes, and Ph.D. dissertations conversions. Routledge Focus are 20,000 to 40,000 word books. They include extended essays, expanded case studies, and in general books longer than a single research paper but shorter than a standard book. Both the hardcover and Focus books are also published in paperback format 18 to 24 months after the initial publication date. Topics, regardless of book format, can be anything in the field of behavioral economics. Topics can come from some of the major public policy issues including health care,  education, poverty, income and/or wealth distribution, productivity, macro stability, and immigration, the contributions to behavioral economics of individual scholars. As a behavioral economist your research agenda is a topic of interest to Routledge. If you are interested then send me abstract of 1,000 or less and a copy of your CV to Roger Frantz , editor, at [email protected].

Office Hours: MW 10:30am – Noon; Friday by appt.

Economics has been known as being very logical, using deductive logic and mathematics in order to predict human behavior in an economic setting. But at the same time it seemed very unrealistic, describing the behavior of homo economicus, the completely rational “person,” a.k.a., an ECON. Economists began changing their minds about basing economics on an ECON in the 1950’s. However, it was in the mid 1970 that two psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky changed the course of economics with their research on human errors and biases in decision making. Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, as did the “father” of behavioral economics Richard Thaler (2017). What these and others have done is begin to integrate concepts from the fields of psychology, sociology, neuroscience, finance, and management into economic theories and models. The result is that economics better understand human behavior, and it is more fun! 

Behavioral Economics class will discuss some of the changes which have occurred in economics as a result of this integration. Differences between ECONS and HUMANS will be a topic appearing in our discussions again and again.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:
[1] Summarize the contributions to behavioral economics from Adam Smith through Frederick Hayek and Frederick von Mises.  
[2] Compare and contrast ECONS and HUMANS. 
[3] Illustrate how production, cost, and welfare theories made HUMANS unnecessary in economics.
[4] Profile the work of Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler which led to their winning the Nobel prize in Economics.  
[5] Appraise the importance of the Codex. 
[6] Discuss the benefits and costs of nudging?

Required Texts

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow. 
Richard Thaler, Misbehaving.  
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge. 
Max Bazerman and Don Moore, Judgment in Managerial Decision making. 
Max Bazerman, The Relevance of Kahneman and Tversky’s Concept of Framing to Organizational Beh. 


Three midterms and 1 optional comprehensive Final. I will count the highest 3scores. If you miss a midterm exam, for whatever reason, or want to improve your scores then you would take the Final. If you are happy with your class grade after the 3rd midterm then you need not take the Final. The exams will include multiple choice, multiple answer, short answer, maybe longer essay questions, and whatever else seems relevant. Each is worth 100 points.

On-line quizzes

Multiple choice, multiple answer, T/F. You will have 2 or 3 days to complete the quiz after it goes on-line. Each is worth 10 points. I will count your 10 highest scores, making the total 100 points. I will explain the details during the first day of class.


100 points. Based on the Cognitive Bias Codex. You need to view the codex on-line where it will be easier to read. Choose any 12 cognitive biases. Write about 1 page (double-spaced 12 point font) on each of the 12 Rules. What is the rule, what is its importance, what evidence indicates its existence?  Due approximately the 14th week of class.  


Based on total points evaluated by the curve for each exam, on-line quizzes, and paper.  

View the full syllabus (.pdf) 

  1. Wealth Without Work
  2. Pleasure Without Conscience
  3. Knowledge Without Character
  4. Commerce Without Morality
  5. Science Without Humanity
  6. Worship Without Sacrifice
  7. Politics Without Principle

(author: Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, Oct 22, 1925)

Behavioral Economics

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman.
  • Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. Richard Thaler.
  • Nudge. Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein.
  • Judgment in Managerial Decision Making. Max Bazerman & Don Moore.
  • Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious. Gerd Gigerenzer. (Anything by Gerd Gigerenzer, such as Rationality for Mortals.)
  • The World According to Star Wars. Cass Sunstein. (Anything by Cass Sunstein, such as The Ethics of Influence, and; Can It Happen Here. Authoritarianism in America.)
    Inside the Nudge Unit. Richard Halpern.
  • The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. Matt Ridley.
  • The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds. Michael Lewis
  • Happiness Around the World. Carol Graham.

History of Economic Thought

  • Adam Smith's Daughters: Eight Prominent Women Economists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Bette Polkinghorn.
  • New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought. Todd G. Buchholz.
  • The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought. Jerry Muller.
  • The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity. Paul Zak.
  • Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. Brian Damasio.
  • The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers. Mark Skousen.
  • The Clash of Economic Ideas: The Great Policy Debates and Experiments of the Last Hundred Years. Lawrence H. White.
  • Morals and Markets: The Dangerous Balance. Daniel Friedman & Daniel McNeill.
  • The Mind of the Market: How Biology and Psychology Shape Our Economic Lives. Michael Shermer.

Social and Economic Issues

  • Enlightenment Now. The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Steven Pinker. (Anything by Steven Pinker, such as The Blank Slate.)
  • The Big Short. Michel Lewis.
  • Boomerang. Travels in the New Third World. Michael Lewis.
  • Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. Joshua Muravchik.
  • The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. Hernando De Soto.
  • Aginst the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. Peter L. Bernstein.
  • The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth's Future. Paul Sabin.
  • How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Thomas E. Wood.
  • Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World. Liaquat Ahamed.
  • The Ultimate Resource. Julian Lincoln Simon.
  • False Alarm. Bjorn Lomborg. 
  • Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming. Bjorn Lomborg.
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Steven D. Levitt.
  • Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky. Paul Johnson.
  • The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. Niall Ferguson.
  • Gulag. A History. Anne Applebaum.
  • The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor. David Landes.
  • Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior. Phil Jackson.
  • The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain's Untapped Potential. Tony Buzan, and Barry Buzan.
  • The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. James D. Watson.
  • Washington Goes to War. David Brinkley
  • Inherit the Wind
  • The Godfather
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Mahalia
  • Gandhi
  • Malcolm X
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Field of Dreams