Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Behavioural Economics and Policy

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit provides an overview of the key themes in this interdisciplinary subject. Students will be introduced to subjects such as judgment, rational choice, heuristics and biases, inter-temporal decision-making, motivation and emotion-based decision-making, fairness and social preferences, welfare inference and well being, consumption, framing, persuasion and marketing. The unit will be valuable to students with an interest in human behaviour and a desire to apply theories to real-world issues in the public and private sector in the field.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to introduce the subject of behavioural economics and its policy implications to undergraduate students in the Bachelor of Commerce course. It provides an understanding of how human beings make decisions, and how such decisions can be influenced in a world where individuals are not perfectly rational. The study-unit aims to address implications from the literature for various fields, including health, finance, media, law, and politics.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- understand how decisions are made, how this affects well-being and more broadly the economy and society, and be able to apply concepts to questions of relevance for a range of applications.
- understand the methodological approaches in behavioural economics research.
- understand and influence behaviour.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- articulate the latest developments in the field, understand and undertake research in the field.
- reason, question and analyse information, integrate and synthesise knowledge from a range of sources and environments, critique the constraints, assumption and limitations of scholarly activity and to think independently, and systematically.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text
An Introduction to Behavioral Economics: A Guide for Students by Nick Wilkinson.

Supplementary Texts
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler Paperback.
Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely.
Stumbling Upon Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert.
Influence, by Robert Cialdini.

(A pack of select readings for the course will be provided by the lecturer)

Rabin, M. (2002). “A Perspective on Psychology and Economics", European Economic Review, 46, 657-685.
Ashraf, Nava, Colin F. Camerer and George Loewenstein. (2005), “Adam Smith, Behavioral Economist,” Journal of Economic Perspectives Vol. 19 (Summer).
Diamond and Hannu Vartianen (eds.) (2007) “Behavioral Economics and Its Applications,” Princeton University Press.
Elster, Jon (2009) "Excessive Ambitions," Capitalism and Society: Vol. 4 : Iss. 2, Article 1.
Kahneman, D. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics." American Economic Review(December 2003): 1449-1475.
Kahneman, Daniel and Amos Tversky (2000) “Choices, Values, and Frames,” Cambridge University Press.
Kunda, Ziva. 1990. “The Case for Motivated Reasoning.” Psychological Bulletin 108(3):480–98.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Study-unit: ECN1001

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Classwork No 50%
Assignment Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Marie Briguglio
Jonathan Spiteri

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.