Behavioural Economics

SubjectEconomics, Psychology

LevelMaster

Type of DegreeMSc

CostEUR 1,984 2016/2017

Funding-

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Behavioural Economics has become a central field in economics and is increasingly popular amongst governments and other economic and financial decision makers. It shows how decision making can be improved by using insights from psychology.

The specialisation in Behavioural Economics consists of a stream of mainstream economics courses and a stream of Behavioural Economics courses. A solid training in mainstream economics provides students with the economic tools to analyse and design policies and strategies. The additional training in Behavioural Economics helps the student to understand why people do not always act as rational economic agents and how economic policies and strategies can be improved to take such deviations from rational behaviour into account. Students will benefit from the expertise of the internationally renowned Behavioural Economics Group at the Erasmus School of Economics, who collaborate with the leading behavioural economists in the world.

In 2002 the Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith for their contributions to the field of Behavioural Economics. A popular book that illustrates the value of Behavioural Economics to improve policies and strategies is ‘Nudge’ by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Traditional economists design new policies based on the assumption that people, if given proper incentives, will choose the optimal course of action. Behavioural economists have shown that people’s choices are not necessarily optimal and are affected by the framing and context of choices. Taking these effects into account will improve the effectiveness of policy measures. This choice architecture influences the way governments think about policy in the US, the UK and recently also in the Netherlands. 

About the Programme

The Master’s curriculum consists of both courses in Mainstream Economics and courses in Behavioural Economics. Students can choose between 3 tracks in Mainstream Economics:

  • Financial Economics Track
  • Economics of Management and Organisation Track 
  • Marketing Track 

These tracks consist of courses and seminars of the corresponding specialisations of the Master of Economics and Business.

In the core Behavioural Economics courses (4 cr.) students will learn the most recent insights from Behavioural Economics. In the seminars (12 cr.) they will learn to apply these insights. Seminars are interactive and require active participation of students. A Master’s thesis, written individually under close supervision by an academic staff member, completes the Master’s specialisation.


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