O. John Olcay Lecture on Ethics and Economics: Phishing for Phools

George Akerlof (Georgetown University)


May 11, 2015
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC

Event Summary

The Peterson Institute held its inaugural annual O. John Olcay Lecture on Ethics and Economics on May 11, 2015. Nobel Laureate George Akerlof of Georgetown University delivered the first lecture, discussing his forthcoming book with Robert Shiller, Phishing for Phools.

In Phishing for Fools, Akerlof and Shiller challenge the conventional notions of consumer behavior and its impact on markets. They contend that free markets can be harmful in that they prey on the naïveté of consumers in an "ignorance is bliss" fashion.

Akerlof joined the faculty of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University in November 2014. Previously, beginning in 1966, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley. He was president of the American Economic Association (AEA) in 2006, after serving earlier as vice president and a member of the AEA executive committee. In 2001, Akerlof received the Alfred E. Nobel Prize in Economic Science for his theory of asymmetric information and its effect on economic behavior.

See also Akerlof's discussion at the book release event.