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Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre Services & Operations Management

Beautiful Game Theory, Beautiful Economics

This course organized by UZH Department of Business Administration in cooperation with ETHZ Department of Management, Technology, and Economics

The Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA) in cooperation with the ETHZ and USI regularly invites guest lecturers as part of the Swiss Doctoral Program for Research in Sports for Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Important - Application (Deadline February 28, 2020)

Dates & Times

You will need to schedule a 1on1 Skype session with Ignacio Palacios-Huerta.


Due to the Coronavirus, the seminar will take place via Skype 1on1 sessions.

Download Reading List: (PDF, 356 KB)

1. Please have a look at all the 20 articles provided on the reading list.

2. Please select 3 or 4 articles you want to read in detail, read and prepare them within the next weeks.

3. Send an e-mail to Anil Özdemir (anil.oezdemir[at] no later than May 23, 2020, stating the specific articles you have read and prepared in detail.

4. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta will schedule Skype conversations wich each student that will take 1 hour on average (depending on the discussion). The majority of skype sessions will take place in the last week of May. If need be, some sessions might be scheduled in the first week of June.

6. Please hand in your essays no later than June 30, 2020.


20% Class participation

80% Essay of no more than 3,000 words

The essay will describe an original idea for a research paper. The description will go over the specific details of the question/idea/setting. Importantly, it will carefully defend the potential it has for generating an original unique discovery, and why the discovery is important. It will also go over how the necessary data could be obtained or collected. The underlying idea may include a new test of a theory, or the first (or best) empirical evidence of a phenomenon, or a new phenomenon, or a unique setting. Originality, creativity and potential impact are highly valuable.

Course Catalog

About this course:

How to test economic theories and document novel human behavior? How to gain deep insights into sports? The general applicability of the economic approach to human behavior means that any data about human activity, including sports, is potentially useful to evaluate economic theories. And sports are in many ways the perfect laboratory to try to obtain novel insights into human decision-making. There is an abundance of data, the goals of the participants are often uncomplicated, the
outcomes extremely clear, the rules precisely determined, the stakes high, and the decision makers experienced professionals.

The use of sports settings is a novel approach in Economics that is gaining substantial attention in the literature.  This course will go over a number of important research contributions in Economics that have been recently obtained in sports settings. These contributions have pushed the frontier of our knowledge, for instance, by providing the first test of a theory or the first or best empirical evidence of an economic phenomenon. Similarly, it will also go over research that shows what economics can do for sports. Economics is an approach to human behavior that is not only applicable but can also turn out to be very useful to study human behavior
in sports settings and generate novel insights.

About the Lecturer:

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta has been a Professor of Management since 2007. Prior to joining LSE, he was Assistant Professor and Full Professor of Economics at Brown University, Assistant Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago, and National Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Professor Palacios-Huerta has published in world leading journals in Economics such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Public Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, and others.

Professor Palacios-Huerta's two most recents books are: Beautiful Game Theory, published in 2014 by Princeton University Press (translated into French and Chinese), and In 100 Years: Leading Economists Predict the Future, published by MIT Press in 2013 and translated into French, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Polish.

Professor Palacios-Huerta's research mainly focuses on identifying and studying novel questions concerning individual and aggregate human behavior, including strategic behaviour in competitive settings, human preferences, incentives and human capital, among others.


Credits: 3 ECTS
Assistant at Chair UZH: Anil Özdemir
Assistant at Chair ETHZ: Surabhi Pasarakonda  

Weiterführende Informationen

Contact & Location

University of Zurich
Department of Business Administration
Chair of Services & Operations Management 
Plattenstrasse 14
CH-8032 Zurich
Phone:   +41 (0)44 634 53 11 
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