About us

The International Herbert A. Simon Society, created in Torino in 2008, is named after the winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Economics Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001) who was the first to challenge radically the model of rationality used by neoclassical economics and which was the origin of the recent financial crisis and of the many forecasting errors made by national and international financial institutions.

Herbert Simon proposes a theory of economic rationality that reflects the economic agent’s real abilities to reason and make decisions. Only a limited type of procedural and subjective rationality might enable economics to move beyond the abstraction and errors of contemporary economics.

The objective of the Simon Society is to reformulate economic theory by starting with the many non-neoclassical directions that have been developed in recent years, in particular behavioural and cognitive economics, neo-institutional economics, evolutionary economics, and organization theory.

The Simon Society will meet this objective by connecting scholars and academic research centres that have already been committed for years to modernizing economic science. The criterion adhered to will be that of opening economic science to contributions from other disciplines such as neuro-cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence, complexity theory, the social sciences and epistemology.

Along these lines it will develop a programme of fellowships and grants for young scholars characterized by originality and interdisciplinarity.

Finally, it will offer its contribution in application to public and private economic decision-makers who want to update the instruments for analysis and forecasting.

Who we are

The Herbert Simon Society (HSS) is a non-profit international Network Research Institute that brings together cognitive scientists, economists, social scientists, computer scientists and philosophers aiming to renew  and apply the fundamental concepts of economic rationality and social action. Starting from the seminal work of Herbert Simon in economics, psychology, artificial intelligence, organizational theory, management and philosophy of science the HSS wishes to tackle the current debate about new cognitive models of economic rationality and social action, the alternative architectures of mind, the mind-brain relations, the simulation of creativity, the uncertainty and complexity of economic and social environment.

The Herbert Simon Society was born in Turin (Italy) in 2008.

The Herbert Simon Society is chaired by Gerd Gigerenzer (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin) and managed by Riccardo Viale (University of Milano-Bicocca). It relies in an international network of academic researchers and consultants in Europe and US. Some of the most important cognitive science centres in the world, as the Max Planck Institute for Human Development of Berlin and the Behavioural Insight Group of Harvard University (Cambridge, US) are its main international reference.

It provides empirical research, theoretical modelling, computer simulation, training activity, workshops, lectures and conferences, both to private companies and public institutions.

The main areas of expertise are:

  • cognitive and behavioural economics
  • behavioural finance and banking
  • financial education
  • cognitive and behavioural sociology
  • behavioural organization
  • creativity and problem solving
  • managerial and entrepreneurial decision making
  • behavioural insights in public policy
  • nudging and architectures of choice
  • behavioural public administration
  • statistical literacy
  • complexity and uncertainty
  • man-machine cognitive ergonomics

From the Statute of the Herbert Simon Society

From the Statute of the Herbert Simon Society

§ 3 Purpose of the Society

  1. To honour the ideas and thought of Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001) through further research and analysis.
The major purpose of the Society is to promote and distribute scientific findings relating to all aspects of Cognitive Sciences, in particular to their application to Social and Behavioural Sciences.
  3. In order to achieve its purposes the Society intends: (a)
 to organize and help finance international symposia dealing with problems within its scientific interest; (b) 
to promote international exchange of scholars who work in the areas of its interest; (c) to promote publications of research results which were achieved by co-operation with the Society and through the Society’s symposia; (d) 
to publish hitherto far unpublished papers of Simon and to further scholarly research concerning the person and work of Simon; (e) 
to confer honours and awards for outstanding work in the areas of its interest.
  4. As befits a scholarly society, membership is open to all points of view and scholarly methods of enquiry, provided they are scholarly and not ideological.
  5. The Society is therefore politically and confessionally neutral. 
(6) The Society is an international organization and welcomes to its membership scholars and any other persons interested in scholarly work from all over the world.