Behavioural and Experimental Economics

Third year module

This module provides a foundation in behavioural economics and the role of experimental methods in economics. The traditional approach in economics is to explain market outcomes and economic decision-making using simple theoretical models based on perfectly rational, self-interested agents who maximise their well-being by carefully weighing up the costs and benefits of different alternatives.

Behavioural economics, on the other hand, aspires to relax these stringent assumptions and develop an understanding of how real people actually make decisions. Analogously, experimental economics also contrasts with the approach that, until recently, was more standard. It uses laboratory techniques as a supplement or alternative to drawing data exclusively from the field.

The module will introduce students to behavioural and experimental economics, discuss these fields from a methodological perspective and examine several areas of economic analysis in which they are applied.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the core areas of behavioural and experimental economics
  • Demonstrate understanding of economic ideas and analysis, including the relationship between them
  • Justify conclusions using economic arguments with appropriate rigour
  • Undertake independent study of a problem or subject.
  • Communicate effectively and clearly in written formats.


  • Written Unseen Exam (80%)
  • Coursework (20%)