Introduction to Behavioural Economics ECON5145

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course is an introduction to the field of Behavioural Economics. This discipline is interdisciplinary by nature, since it combines economical and psychological topics (e.g., decision-making under uncertainty, the role of biases and emotions, bounded rationality and problem-solving strategies and heuristics) and methods (i.e., from theoretical models building on experiments to testing theories through experiments on actual human subjects via a variety of technologies, from laboratorial work to field experiments). This course will begin by (i) tracing the relatively recent history of this approach, then (ii) illustrating contemporary debates and main models, while introducing core behavioural methods of research (e.g, varieties of experimental games and designs), and showing its potential for the study of human behaviour.


Lectures: 5x2 hours lectures. These are interactive lectures for which asynchronous activities will be included for preparation (e.g., online quizzes on Moodle).

Tutorials: 2x1 hour tutorials.

On campus.

Requirements of Entry

Please refer to the current postgraduate prospectus at:

Excluded Courses








Word length/Duration


Degree Exam


120 minutes


Referee Report


800 words


Students will perform a written exam (70%), where they can choose between an essay-like question and a series of more technical short questions. The two types of assessments represent different ways of demonstrating knowledge, skills and understanding (ILOs).

The second summative assessment (30%) consists of writing a Referee Report for which students will receive specific instructions during the tutorials.

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

This course aims to:

- provide an introduction to methods and models in Behavioural Economics.

- give a critical overview of the evolution in the study of human behaviour, from neoclassical economic theory to contemporary cutting-edge research in behavioural economics.

- equip students with an initial interdisciplinary take on the determinants underpinning decision-making processes.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1. Analyse and discuss the main limitations of past models of rationality assumptions as promoted by neoclassical economics, and how behavioural economics has attempted to overcome them.

2. Critically reflect on the continuity and discontinuity of methods, models and concerns between neoclassical economics and behavioural economics (including but not limited to reference dependent preferences and dynamically inconsistent preferences).

3. Discuss behavioural economic models, experimental settings, and data interpretation.

4. Identify future potential and current limitations in behavioural models, notably in the risky yet key attempt of uniting psychological methods with economic concerns.

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.