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Experimental and Behavioural Economics

Module description


Why do people give to charity? Why do people who buy insurance for their house gamble? Why do we like to conform to the behavior of the majority? We will explore these questions and more in this course. We will pitch the model of rational choice against theories of behavioural economics, and in the process acquire the toolkit for the modern behavioural economist.

Additional Information: Internationalisation

Microeconomics is relevant across countries as it is based on mathematical models.


All of the resources for this module are available on the ELE (Exeter learning Environment).


This module equips students with logical thinking, numeracy and writing skills, as well as an understanding and theoretical knowledge of economic issues. These help students think like economists, a quality highly valued by employers.

Full module specification

Module title:Experimental and Behavioural Economics
Module code:BEEM125
Module level:M
Academic year:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Miguel Fonseca - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






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


Module aims

The aim of this module is to enable students to examine economic theory from a behavioural perspective, and highlight instances where standard economics predicts actual choices correctly and instances where it does not. Students will be introduced to recent behavioural theories that have emerged to explain the empirical observations, and will discuss the implications for economics, business and politics.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. be familiar with the methodology of and recent developments in behavioural economics and their impact on economic theories;
  • 2. design a behavioural change intervention.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. understand the difference between normative and positive theories of behaviour
  • 4. understand the implication on behavior of ethical considerations in decision-making, such as fairness or honesty preferences
  • 5. discuss and evaluate how economic theories are developed and tested
  • 6. understand how new theories are developed to account for new empirical evidence

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. effectively communicate findings
  • 8. produce high quality written work (whether in a group or individually)
  • 9. engage in independent study
  • 10. research and summarise a body of literature in order to produce a report
  • 11. engage in critical thought and reasoned discussion

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 activities22Lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities11Tutorials
Guided independent study 117Reading, preparation for classes and assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class Discussions1 hour1-5Written

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
Written essay70Max 5,000 words1-11Verbal and written
10 ELE quizzes: each at 3% (30%)30MCQ1, 3-6Verbal and written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay Written essay (70%) 5000 words1-11Aug/Sep
10 ELE Quizzes: each at 3% (30%) Single ELE quiz (30%)1,3-6Aug/Sep

Re-assessment notes



Syllabus plan

• Rational Choice
• Prospect Theory and Mental Accounting
• Bayesian Updating
• Heuristics
• Intertemporal Decision-Making
• Fairness
• Incentives and Moral Hazard
• Behavioural Change
• Honesty and the Economics of Crime

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:
Baddeley, M. Behavioural Economics and Finance 2nd ed. 2018. Routledge.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Origin date


Last revision date