ECON2126 Principles of Experimental and Behavioural Economics

6 Units of Credit

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In this course, we will discuss how to do economics experiments "right" and show why "the way one does an experiment is incredibly important", as a famous behavioural economists once noted. We thus will talk about the experimental method in economics (and how it differs from methods in other social sciences) and will do so both by reading widely cited articles and by doing selected experiments. We shall discuss the advantages and disadvantages of experimental methods relative to other empirical social science methods such as econometrics, and will document how it can be used to explore the robustness of the "homo economicus" assumption of a rational, selfish decision maker used in many economic models. We will find that economic theory does a good job in many applications but that there are also important behavioural deviations from the model of “homo economicus”. The topics covered in this course also include individual decision making and risky choice, bargaining and negotiations, cooperation, provision of public goods, punishment of norm violations, coordination problems, and others.