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Study information

Behavioural Economics: Theory and Practice

Module titleBehavioural Economics: Theory and Practice
Module codeBEE3069
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Edwin Ip (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module, we rigorously and critically examine both standard economics and behavioural economics theories of decision making in depth, assessing both their merits and shortcomings. We then show how these theories can be applied to design theoretically-informed real world behavioural interventions that have real world impacts in government and industry. Finally, we discuss the considerations when implementing trials in the field as well as Behavioural Public Policy.

This module is suitable for final year Economics students as well as non-Economics students with strong mathematical background who are interested in Behavioural Economics.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Students will be equipped with in depth knowledge of behavioural economic theories and knowledge of how economics and behavioural economics may be used to design impactful interventions in the real world. At the end of the module, students should have comparable skills and level of knowledge to those of a professional practitioner. As part of the assessment, students will design a professional-standard field trial proposal. This module aims to encourage students to become independent, critical thinkers. It will also encourage students to think carefully how they can utilise mathematical and problem solving skills acquired throughout their degree to tackle new problems.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. explain real world behaviour mathematically using standard and behavioural economic theories;
  • 2. apply economic and behavioural economic theories to design behavioural solutions;
  • 3. demonstrate in depth knowledge and understanding of behavioural economic theories.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. solve economic decision problems;
  • 5. critically evaluate the relevance of both standard and behavioural economics in different contexts.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. critically analyse existing ideas and status quo practices;
  • 7. approach, structure, analyse and solve problems in a logical manner;
  • 8. identify and challenge assumptions;
  • 9. design intervention trials and carry out power calculations;
  • 10. produce high quality technical written work.

Syllabus plan

The topics that we may cover (but not limited to): 

  • Models of Time-Inconsistent Preferences
  • Models of Reference Dependent Preferences
  • Behavioural Intervention Design
  • Field Trial Design
  • Libertarian Paternalism

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity5Tutorials
Guided Independent Study123Problem Sets, readings and assignment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practice Exercises x 61 hour1-8Oral and Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Assignment402000 words max1-10Written or Oral
Final Exam602 hours1-9Written or Oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Assignment (40%)Assignment (2,000 words, 40%)1-9August/September Reassessment Period
Final Exam (60%)Exam (2 hours, 60%)1-8August/September Reassessment Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

There is no textbook for this module. Reading list (journal articles) will be posted on ELE.

Key words search

Behavioural Economics, Decision Making, Policy, Intervention Design

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

For Economics students: BEE1024 Mathematics for Economists AND BEE2025 Microeconomics II
For non-Economics students (e.g. Maths, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Accounting and Finance): BEE1024 Mathematics for Economists or equivalent
Students with strong mathematical background (e.g. Mathematics, Computer Science, Data Science, Finance) interested in this module are encouraged to contact the convener even if you do not meet the pre-requisite requirements.

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date