Behavioral economics refers to the research program that attempts to incorporate more realistic psychological foundations into models of economic behavior. It initially started by drawing experimental evidence and insights from psychology and other social sciences suggesting the standard model of rational decision-making provides an inadequate description of behavior. But, more recently, behavioral economics is finding its way into policy evaluation/normative economic analysis as well. This course explores some of the advances in this field. We will study foundational topics in behavioral economics, with a focus on theories of behavior that aim to incorporate non-standard phenomena into classic economic models, with consideration of intertemporal decision-making, choice under uncertainty, and learning.
The course will be centered around research paper discussions, allowing students to develop the critical skills necessary to evaluate and put in practice the latest research findings in the field of Behavioral Economics. Students will have the opportunity to shape the structure of the course by choosing specific readings within each topic.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- demonstrate an understanding of what the Behavioral Economics program is and how it differs from classical economic analysis;
- demonstrate an understanding of the methods used in Behavioral Economics, the advantages, disadvantages, criticisms, and limitations;
- describe and interpret the latest findings from Behavioral Economics research, demonstrating an understanding of how they translate into individual behaviour and apply them to public policy questions;
- demonstrate an understanding of the main theoretical and empirical debates in Behavioral Economics and evaluate the contribution of Behavioral Economics to broader economic knowledge, as well as other areas.
- Assessment will consist of a Final Exam, mid-semester exam(s), quizzes, assignment or some combination thereof. See the Class Summary for details. (100) [LO 1,2,3,4]
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130 hours in total over the semester consisting of lectures, tutorials and private study time.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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