Warwick/Coventry, United Kingdom

Behavioural Economics

when 17 July 2022 - 6 August 2022
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 7.5 EC
fee GBP 2070

Behavioural economics is one of the fastest growing branches of economics and relaxes many of the assumptions of traditional economic theory. This course is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students studying Economics at University level although working professionals are also welcome.

In this course, we will consider the traditional theories and models of economics and analyse how behavioural economics begins to move away from these models, by relaxing traditional assumptions. By doing this, behavioural economics looks to explain how agents actually behave in practice and what factors can sometimes explain seemingly irrational behaviour.

The course will expose students to several major topics in Behavioural Economics and will look to link theory with empirical applications. We will analyse the role of behavioural economics in the context of both consumer and firm behaviour. In particular, the course will focus on departures from neoclassical preferences and from rational expectations. Some of the topics that will be covered in this course include:

- Strategic Thinking
- Reference Dependent Preferences and Loss Aversion.
- Social Preferences.
- Hyperbolic Discounting.
- Naiveté and Self-Control.
- Happiness and Adaptation.
- The role of nudging and framing and the impact on consumer behaviour.
- Behavioural Welfare Analysis.
- Altruism and Cooperation.
- Herd Behaviour.
- Non-standard beliefs (including the gamblers' fallacy)
- Status and social comparison
- Individual Heterogeneity and Economic Implications
- Experiment Design in Practice

By the end of the course you should be able to:

- Demonstrate knowledge of some of the main theoretical and empirical debates in Behavioural Economics.
- Understand the way in which Behavioural Economics has developed and how we can relate it to traditional models of economics.
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of different theories of Economic Behaviour.
- Demonstrate an ability to apply the main concepts to a variety of other economic fields.
- Construct and substantiate arguments on a variety of topics covered in the module.
- Present clearly and methodically in their own words, but also using equations and diagrams.

The course has an optional assessment via a 2-hour examination. Everyone who completes the course – whether or not they sit the exam - will receive a certificate of attendance. However, by taking the exam you will also receive a transcript of results with a grade/mark which can be used to transfer credit.

Course leader

Dr Alex Dobson, Department of Economics, University of Warwick

Target group

This course is open to students who are studying or have previously studied Economics at University level. You should attach your most recent transcript or provide a screenshot of your modules from your student portal as evidence when you apply. Students should also meet our standard entry requirements and must be aged 18 or over by the time the Summer School commences and have a good understanding of the English language.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the field of behavioural economics. The broad objective will be to insert more behavioural realism into economic theory and thus provide students with a better understanding of the important role that Behavioural Economics plays in explaining consumer and producer behaviour. By first ensuring an understanding of the traditional models of economics, the course will then aim to examine evidence that shows some departure from the assumptions made in the canonical economic model. We then aim to show how such departures can be formalized theoretically and how the resulting models find empirical confirmation.

By approaching behavioural economics in this way, the course aims to provide students with an understanding of the development of behavioural economics and how it builds on and then departs from traditional theory. It will consider examples such as the way in which firms can frame choices and nudge consumers to behave in a certain way. By drawing on empirical results and applying theoretical models to real-world examples, students will develop an understanding of the important lessons that this relatively new branch of economics can convey.

Credits info

7.5 EC
You must check with the relevant office of your institution if you will be awarded credit, but many institutions will allow this. In general, you’ll earn 3 credits in the US system, and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. Warwick will provide any necessary supporting evidence to help evaluate the worth of the course.

Fee info

GBP 2070: Tuition fee (includes a 10% early booking discount, social programme and guest lecture series)


We offer enhanced discounts for Warwick alumni, Warwick study abroad partners and group bookings of 5+ students