Advanced Topics in Behavioural Economics ECON5142

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course combines methods used in microeconomic models of behaviour with insights from psychology, neuroscience and experimental economics towards providing a better understanding of economic behaviour and decision makers' welfare in environments that include choice under certainty, risk, uncertainty as well as choice over time. The course also studies biases in the formation of probabilistic beliefs and in the updating of such beliefs as new information arrives. Both experimental/empirical evidence and theoretical models will be presented and analysed so that an in-depth understanding of the relevant behaviours can be gained from complementary modes of analysis. Finally, the course discusses some economic, welfare, business and policy implications of the phenomena to be studied and the models used to explain them.


Lectures: 9 x 2-hour lectures on campus. These are interactive lectures for which asynchronous activities will be included for preparation (e.g., online quizzes on Moodle).

Workshop: 1 x 2-hour workshop on campus

Tutorials: 5 x 1-hour tutorials on campus

Requirements of Entry

Registration on the MSc in Behavioural Science.

Excluded Courses





The Written Exam will have compulsory and optional questions of both the problem-solving and essay kind.

The Written Assignment will result from collective effort as every student will be allocated to a small group that will work together on the assigned problem.





Word length/Duration


Written Group Assignment:
echnical Essay


3000 words

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


Exception: the assignment is a group work and cannot be re-assessed.

Course Aims

The course aims to teach students some important methods on the frontier of Behavioural Economics. With the goal of providing more accurate descriptions of actual human behaviour, the course specifically aims to teach students how neoclassical microeconomic analysis can be combined with relevant insights from psychology and neuroscience. The course finally aims to demonstrate the real-world importance of this analysis through the discussion of relevant economic, welfare, business and policy implications.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Discuss ways in which standard theories of rational choice are violated in environments of riskless, risky, uncertain and intertemporal choice, as well as ways in which standard theories of probabilistic belief formation and updating are violated in environments of judgement under uncertainty.

2. Discuss leading behavioural theories motivated by research in psychology and neuroscience that can explain the observed deviations of human decision making from the predictions of rational-choice theories.

3. Evaluate and interpret the methods and some of the latest empirical findings and theoretical results in the literature, and identify practical policy and business solutions.

4. Work effectively in teams to produce an essay or technical report using Behavioural Economics methods.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.