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EC345: Behavioural Economics: Theory and Applications

  • Alexander Dobson

    Module Leader
15 CATS - Department of Economics

Principal Aims

EC345-15 Behavioural Economics: Theory and Applications

Principal Learning Outcomes

Key Skills:...demonstrate knowledge of laboratory and field experimentation. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars, independent study and reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Examination.

Subject knowledge and understanding:...understand the rationale for the study of behavioural economics and to be able to describe the key theoretical and empirical tools of modern behavioural economics. Present a good understanding of economic behaviour involving agents. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars, independent study and reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Examination.

Subject knowledge and understanding:...develop plausible models of behaviour that cannot be explained by the standard economic rational agent-based theories. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars, independent study and reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Examination.

Key Skills:...communicate an understanding of behavioural economics using appropriate methodologies. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars, independent study and reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Examination.

Professional skills:...understand contemporary economic models founded on behavioural economics and increasingly used by practitioners in a variety of fields from government to companies. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars, independent study and reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Examination.

Syllabus

The syllabus will cover both theory and application of Behavioural Economics. It will typically include topics such as:

Theory

1. Prospect Theory - Effect of reference dependent preferences, loss aversion (sometimes called the endowment effect), present bias and social preferences, in the labour, financial and other markets.

2. The relationship between choice utility and subjective well-being

3. Economics of Happiness

Applications

1. Addiction - Review the standard rational model of addiction (Becker & Murphy). Effect of time-inconsistency on consumption, internalities and multiple-selves. Illustration of policy interventions and the implications for the setting of taxes on commodities such as alcohol and tobacco.

2. Dishonesty - from incentive compatibility where truth telling is induced to dishonesty as an empirical regularity (focus on the work by Dan Ariely) Also report on experiments involving incorrect bills in restaurants - do diners react by notifying the waiter if the mistake is in their favour?

3. Implications for policy - with reference to competition and consumer policies we shall look at the idea of Nudge based policies and contrast these with traditional incentive market-based policies.

The course will have an emphasis on the empirical identification of the different models, but it does not require an advanced econometric knowledge.

Context

Optional Module
L100 - Year 3, L103 - Year 4, L116 - Year 3, L117 - Year 4, LM1D (LLD2) - Year 3, LM1H - Year 4, GL11 - Year 3, GL12 - Year 4, V7ML - Year 3, V7MM - Year 4, V7MP - Year 3, V7MR - Year 3, LA99 - Year 3, R9L1 - Year 4, R3L4 - Year 4, R4L1 - Year 4, R2L4 - Year 4, R1L4 - Year 4, L1L8 - Year 3
Pre or Co-requisites
Modules: EC202-30 or EC204-30 or EC238-15

Assessment

Assessment Method
Coursework (20%) + Online Examination (Summer) (80%)
Coursework Details
Online Examination (Summer) (80%) , in-class test (20%)
Exam Timing
N/A

Reading Lists