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ECON318 Behavioural Economics

People often make economic decisions that violate the standard assumptions of rationality and self-interest. This paper explores theories of such behaviour that incorporate evidence from psychology and other behavioural sciences.

Economic models often presume (at least implicitly) that decision-makers are rational, self-interested, fully informed and endowed with perfect foresight. It is not difficult to find violations of each of these precepts in real-world economic behaviour, and the study of the "limits to rationality" has become a vibrant and rapidly growing field within economics. This paper will focus on evidence of seemingly "psychological" phenomena in the marketplace and consider how these phenomena can be incorporated into the larger body of economic thought.

Paper title Behavioural Economics
Paper code ECON318
Subject Economics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $912.00
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 200-level ECON points
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Commerce, Science
May not be credited together with ECON351 passed in 2012, 2013, or 2014.
Teaching staff
Dr Trent Smith
Though the lectures will not closely follow any single textbook, it is anticipated that several readings will be drawn from An Introduction to Behavioral Economics by Nick Wilkinson, 2nd edition (2012).
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will be introduced to key theories, issues and problems in the area of behavioural economics.

Particular emphasis will be placed upon considering evidence from a broad spectrum of the behavioural sciences, such as social psychology, anthropology and neuroscience, and incorporating this evidence into economic theory.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
Wednesday 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22
Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-14, 16-22