Seminar: Behavioral Economics in Action

Course content

The seminar allows students to gain experience in working with their topic of interest within behavioral or experimental economics.

The seminar "Behavioral Economics in Action" contain topics elaborated on the course "Science of Behavior Change". In particular, students will use the tools of behavioral and experimental economics to understand and (ideally) solve societal problems.

The seminar paper can be empirical and design and possibly pretest an experiment, either a lab experiment or a field experiment. The seminar paper can be theoretical and review or extend an existing model in behavioral economics. The seminar paper can also be a review of a topic in experimental or behavioral economics.


MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics

Learning outcome

After completing the seminar the student is expected to be able to fulfill the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum and  to be able to:


  • Review and describe the most recent findings of behavioral and experimental economics
  • Apply recent findings of behavioral and experimental economics empirically or reflect on how they relate to an empirical question.


  • Critically discuss, and possibly extend an experiment or model in behavioral economics.
  • Identify the causes of a specific irrational behavior and analyze the consequences of this behavior for the society.



  • Design (or conduct) experiments and policy interventions aiming at understanding a phenomenon or improve societal well-being and people’s life.
  • Apply behavioral economic insights to theoretical problems and practical empirical questions.

At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

The aim of the presentations is, that the student uses the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback. The presentations is not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/ agreement paper.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the full project AFTER the presentation has taken place.

Students are expected to find relevant literature for their chosen topic. Books and papers that cover some of the topics:

  • List, J., & Gneezy, U. (2014). The why axis: Hidden motives and the undiscovered economics of everyday life.
  • Dhami, S. (2016). The Foundations of Behavioral Economic Analysis.
  • Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2008). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness.



  • Ly, K., Mazar, N., Zhao, M., Soman, D.; (2013) A Practitioner's Guide to Nudging; Research Report Series, Rotman School of Management.
  • Madrian Brigitte C. (2014) Applying Insights from Behavioral Economics to Policy Design. Annu. Rev. Econ. 2014. 6:30.1–30.26
  • Egan M. (2013) Nudge Database. Stirling Behavioural Science Blog.
  • Czibor, E., Jimenez-Gomez, D., & List, J. A. (2019). The Dozen Things Experimental Economists Should Do (More of) (No. w25451). National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Thaler, R. H. (2016). Behavioral economics: Past, present, and future. American Economic Review106(7), 1577-1600.

It is recommended to have followed a course on experimental or behavioral economics, such as "Science of Behavior Change", “Field experiments”, “Foundations of Behavioural Economics” or “The Psychology of Choice - Experimental Theory and Methods” before or at the same time as the seminar.

The student should have a sound knowledge of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.

The students should also have a basic knowledge of microeconomics, statistics and econometrics (basic courses taught at the BA level of Economics).

BSc in Economics or similar


Kick-off meeting: Wednesday the 8th of September 10-12

Extra meetings / introductory teaching / guidance: Office hours to be agreed at Kick-off meeting.

Deadline for submission of commitment paper / project description: September 21, 2021

Deadline for uploading a seminar assignment paper in Absalon: In the week of the 8th to 12th (exact dates to be agreed at Kick-off meeting)

Presentations: In the week of the 15th to 19th (exact dates to be agreed at Kick-off meeting)

Exam date: 1 December at 10.00 (am) - latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. So it is very important that you by yourself logon to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester


Each student receives oral feedback on their paper at the presentation from both peers and supervisor.

The supervisor gives the students collective oral feedback and individual guidance.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum and at KUNet for seminars.
All aids allowed

for the seminar paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • English
  • 206