Charles Sprenger is a new faculty member at the Rady School of Management where he is an Associate Professor of Economics & Strategy. He also teaches courses at the UC San Diego Department of Economics as an Associate Professor. Sprenger received his Ph.D. in Economics from UC San Diego and was most recently an Assistant Professor of Economics at Stanford University.
Spenger shared his research focus and passion for teaching in a brief interview.
Q: Describe your research in the past and your current research.
A: My research is about exploring how people make decisions over time and creating models of dynamic inconsistencies, which are exciting for Behavioral Economists because they demonstrate violations of typical behavior patterns.
I also study the existence of non-expected behavioral anomalies and models that rationalize this data. I have a project in Afghanistan that looks at personal experiences with violence and how that influences economic behavior.
Q: Why is your research important?
A: Decision-making over time and understanding situations when individuals deviate from the norm offers us deeper insights into individual economic behavior and also has important policy implications.
Q: In what subjects do you consider yourself an expert?
A: I would say I’m an expert in Behavioral Economics and Experimental Economics. Behavioral Economics uses insights from psychology and incorporates them into economics. Experimental Economics is about controlled lab experiments to test theories.
Q: What inspired you to get into your field?
A: The first job I had in economics was as a research assistant to a behavioral economist and together we started an experiment on decision-making in lower income communities in Boston. The project was so intellectually stimulating that it inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. shortly after and I have continued to work throughout my career.
Q: What do you enjoy about teaching?
A: I love student engagement and the demystification of economics. A lot of people think that the economist’s toolbox is very complex, but it is really just built on a few guiding principles. There is something extremely rewarding about watching that click for students.
Q: What do you hope to instill in your students?
A: Ask hard questions and don’t be afraid to question the standard body of knowledge.
Learn more about Sprenger’s background, publications and research.
Aleena Karamally is a student writer for the Rady School and a freshman at UC San Diego. Aleena is a Human Development major and a member of the UC San Diego Equestrian Team.