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Unit information: Behavioural Economics in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Behavioural Economics
Unit code EFIM30027
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Christoph Koenig
Open unit status Not open

EFIM20008 Intermediate Economics 1 and either ECON20020 Econometrics or EFIM20010 Applied Quantitative Research Methods



School/department School of Economics
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Modern economics has started to use models where economic decision making and action is not completely rational. This unit will consider theories of and evidence for such behaviour. The main topics covered in this course are: Prospect Theory, Time-Inconsistency, Non-standard beliefs, Economics of Happiness, Framing, Heuristics, Neuroeconomics, Emotions.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a student will be able:

  • to analyse and discuss a wide range of issues in behavioural economics;
  • to learn about the conceptual problems in modelling and describing such behaviour;
  • to have an overview of the empirical evidence for such behaviours;
  • to understand the policy implications of boundedly rational behaviour.

Teaching details

18 hours of lectures and 8 hours of classes.

Assessment Details


Formative assessment will consist of two problem sets which students will submit.


Three-hour closed-book examination.

The exam paper addresses all the learning outcomes.

Reading and References

Specific readings – mainly journal articles – are provided at the beginning of the course. Some useful background readings on Behavioural Economics are:

  1. Hal Varian (2014) Intermediate Microeconomics: A Modern Approach, ninth edition, chapter 31
  2. The Behavioral Economics Guide 2015 edited by Alain Samson
  3. Edward Cartwright (2014) Behavioral Economics, second edition, Routledge
  4. Wolfgang Pesendorfer (2006) Behavioral Economics Comes of Age review of Advances in Behavioral Economics editors Colin F. Camerer, George Loewenstein and Matthew Rabin, Princeton University Press
  5. Richard H. Thaler (2015) Misbehaving: The making of behavioural economics, Allen Lane
  6. Sanjit Dhami (2016) The Foundations of Behavioral Economic Analysis, Oxford
  7. Daniel Kahneman (2012) Thinking, Fast and Slow, Penguin
  8. Stefano DellaVigna (2009) Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field. Journal of Economic Literature, 47(2): 315-372