75975 - Behavioural Economics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2015/2016

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be exposed to the recent developments of behavioral economics, with a specific focus on individual decision making. In particular, students: i) will know the most important theories and experimental results; ii) will be able to apply such knowledge in the formulation of firms' competitve strategies.

Course contents

Part I. Introduction to Behavioural Economics

  • The limits of rationality
  • Choice and risk
  • Choice and time
  • Euristics and biases
  • Happiness and utility

Applications of behavioural economics to industrial organization

  • Rational firms, "irrational consumers": how firms can exploit consumers' cognitive limits
  • "Irrational firms": how firms' strategies are affected by individuals' (e.g. managers) cognitive limits.


The main textbook is:

Edward Cartwright, Behavioural Economics, Routledge 2011

For a general introduction to behavioral economics, students can also refer to:

Erik Angner, A Course in behavioural Economics, Palgrave Macmillan 2012.

Other readings on specific topics will given at the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures and students' presentations in class.

Assessment methods

A single written exam covers both modules (Module 1: Industrial Organization and Module 2: Behavioral Economics) and aims at evaluating the skills and the critical abilities developed by the students as regards to the theories explained during lectures. In order to pass the exam students must obtain a sufficient mark for both Module 1 and Module 2. The exam lasts 1h 30m.

Students attending lectures may choose to take the exam through two partial exams.

- The partial exam for Module 1 is scheduled at the end of the first term of lectures, and is 45 minutes exam.

- The partial exam for Module 2 is scheduled at the end of the second term of lectures, and it is 45 minutes exam.

Only students who pass the first mid-term assessment are admitted to the second mid-term assessment. The final mark is the unweighted average of the marks in the two Modules. A sufficient mark in the general exam, or in the average of the two partial exams,  cannot be refused.

For Module 2, student will have the possibility to give a presentation in class (within groups of max 4 students).  The mark for Module 2 will be the unweighted average between the mark in the written exam (for Module 2) and the mark for the presentation, only if the mark in the written exam (for Module 2) is lower; otherwise, it will be the mark in the written exam.

Teaching tools


Office hours

See the website of Lorenzo Zirulia