UCL Department of Economics


ECONG050 - Behavioural Economics


This course applies the tools of economic analysis to theoretical and empirical issues in behavioral economics. There will be an emphasis throughout on microeconomic theory and applications. The aims of the course are to give students an understanding of the main hypotheses in behavioral economics and the empirical evidence in their support. Evidence will be provided from both field and laboratory environments.

By the end of the course students should – (i) have an overview of major papers in the literature and appreciate differences between neoclassical and behavioral methods; (ii) be able to apply the basic frameworks to economic problems; (iii) appreciate some of the key debates in thinking about how behavioral economics can inform public policy.

Course outline:

Topic 1: Time preferences (self control problems/choice over time/hyperbolic discounting)

Topic 2: Risk Preferences (prospect theory/reference dependence)

Topic 3: Social Preferences

Topic 4: Overconfidence

Topic 5: Applications (persuasion, social learning)

Each topic will have one lecture covering theory, and one lecture covering evidence from the field and lab.

Taught by:
Steffen Huck & Terri Kneeland
Assessment: Grades are determined solely through a two hour final exam. This will cover all of the topics discussed over the term. Students can potentially also be examined on any of the papers on the course reading list. The format of the final exam will be a closed book sit down two hour exam. A calculator will not be required.
Suitable for:
Graduate students

ECONG021 or ECONGP21 or the equivalent with Economics Department Approval

A strong background in Microeconomics and Game Theory are essential.

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