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Behavioural Economics: Theory and Practice

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.

Full module specification

Module title:Behavioural Economics: Theory and Practice
Module code:BEE3069
Module level:3
Academic year:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Edwin Ip - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



BEE1024 (or equivalent); BEE2025. 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.



Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

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.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 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

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

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 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.

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

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

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

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

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date


Last revision date