Faculty Spotlight: Welcoming Charles Sprenger


Charles Sprenger believes in the power of asking tough questions and hopes to instill in his students the incentive to learn by questioning the standard body of knowledge. Sprenger is a new Associate Professor of Economics & Strategy at the Rady School and also teaches courses at the UC San Diego Department of Economics. Prior to coming to the Rady School, Sprenger was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Stanford University.

Sprenger became inspired while working as a research assistant to a behavioral economist on an experiment in decision-making in lower income communities in Boston. He decided to pursue a career in economics and Sprenger earned his M.Sc. in Economics from University College London and a Ph.D. in Economics from University of California, San Diego.

Sprenger's research and interests focus on behavioral economics and experimental economics. He describes his research as "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," Sprenger said. "This type of research offers us deeper insights into individual economic behavior and also has important policy implications."

Sprenger was awarded a 2012 Distinguished Affiliate in Behavioral Economics from the Center for Economic Studies and the Ifo Institute (CESifo), which is awarded to a young economist for scientific originality, policy relevance and quality of exposition at the CESifo conference. In addition, he received a 2011 National Science Foundation grant of $101,000 to research the impact of trauma on economic preferences.
In the classroom, Sprenger enjoys teaching students to master what he calls the "economist's toolbox."

"I love student engagement and the demystification of economics," said Sprenger.
"A lot of people think that economics 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."

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