FINS5555 Behavioural Approaches in Finance - 2018

FINS5555
Postgraduate
Semester 2
6 Units of Credit
On Campus
Banking & Finance

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

In this course, we will examine how people make predictable and repeatable mistakes in financial decision-making. We will describe the nature of these mistakes and their origin, using insights from psychology, neurosciences and experimental economics on how the human mind works. We will then discuss how understanding the functioning of the human mind allows us to design a better world—in particular, better stock markets, retirement and healthcare systems. As such, this course is markedly multidisciplinary, lying at the intersection of financial economics and cognitive sciences, with both experimental and theoretical components.

This course is extremely interactive in nature and heavily relies on experiential learning. For instance, students will participate in many behavioral experiments, both in the classroom and at home. Lots of in-class discussions will also be organized.

For each experiment, the aggregated results from all students will be presented and discussed in class collectively. These experiments are meant to illustrate in a vivid format the nature of the cognitive biases I will teach you in a more abstract (conceptual) format during the lectures.

Before each lecture, you are expected to familiarize yourself with the material corresponding to the lecture. This material is available on Moodle well in advance of the class itself. Do NOT wait until the day before to look at the material. Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours each week to study this material. The material comprises the lecture notes of the previous lectures (note that the lecture notes of a given lecture are posted after the lecture, not before; more on this below), as well as a number of teaching tools (e.g., articles, supplementary lecture notes, short documentary movies, etc.).

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

This course is an elective course in finance. It introduces cognitive biases and discusses the impact of these on financial decision-making as introduced in other courses. As such, this course is intended to complement other finance courses. In particular, FINS1613 Business Finance is a prerequisite for this course.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-charge    Elise Payzan-Le NestourRoom 359A, Business School building – Ref E12+61 2 9385 4273See below

Communication with staff

How to ask questions about the course, and/or discuss private matters?

In the discussion forums in Moodle:

If you have questions regarding the course, you should always ask them first in the discussion forums in Moodle. This way, every student will benefit from both the question and its answer, and the amount of information available to everyone will be greatly improved. I will personally reply to questions at least once every 24h during the week, as well as at least once during the weekends. Each student is also strongly encouraged to reply to others’ questions and discuss any replies made. Further details on how to use the forums all be available in Moodle.

In my office upon appointment:

If you wish to have one-to-one time with me, please send me an email first to schedule an appointment, not later than two days before. For the reason explained above (information sharing and synergies between students), one-to-one meetings should be used only if you need to discuss either 1) private matters or personal requests that require a face-to-face discussion 2) course-related questions that you feel have not been adequately addressed in the forums.

By email:

Please feel free to contact me by email at any time with any question that cannot be posted in the discussion forums (such as private requests or personal matters).

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

The goal is to ensure that this course will be relevant and meaningful to you in class and after you graduate. To help achieve this objective I have a number of teaching aims:
  • Create a climate of commitment, responsibility and ongoing feedback between students and lecturer regarding the content, teaching strategies, learning experiences and outcomes.
  • Cater for a variety of learning preferences and abilities by providing a wide range of learning activities, formats and methodological approaches: I will punctuate my lectures with discussions, will use lecture notes, papers, and movies to communicate the material of the lectures. Also, the approach of the course will be both theoretical and experimental.
  • Develop independent learning skills, and create an environment that provides structure and guidance, while encouraging students to extend their learning. For example, one required reading will be clearly specified each week on the reading list (see Section 7). Alongside this required reading, students will have the opportunity to flesh out the topics discussed during the lecture, through supplemental readings indicated in the reading list.
  • Develop skills in collaboration and teamwork, which is directly relevant to the skills required of a finance professional.
This course is thus designed both for students aiming to pursue research in finance, and for students planning to join the industry after graduation.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

High levels of interaction and preparation are required for this class and are intended to provide the necessary foundation for success in the workplace. Writing and communication skills are essential; so are organizational skills and a strong sense of responsibility. You will participate in several behavioural experiments, and will have the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem solving.

5. Course Resources

Moodle course website

The course website on Moodle is the resources hub. All materials will be posted there and the discussion forums will be accessible on Moodle as well.

Students are expected to acquaint themselves with the material posted on Moodle to prepare each lecture. In particular, they should systematically consult the section corresponding to each lecture about one week before the lecture (e.g., “ Week 1” for Lecture 1, “Week 2” for Lecture 2, etc.).

Lecture notes

One of the liberating features of the behavioural finance field is that there is not yet any full-blown textbook. In the absence of a suitable textbook, we will use my lecture notes.

Given the interactive nature of the course—specifically, the fact that we’ll be running behavioural experiments during our lectures, the lecture notes for a class won’t be posted ahead of a class but the evening following the class. The reason for this is that prior to participating in an experiment, it is key that students know nothing about the scientific purpose of the experiment (and the results obtained in prior experimental sessions); otherwise their behavior in the experiment would be biased.

Please note:

The lecture notes are quite rich and it is expected that the students review the material seen during each lecture shortly after the class. When reviewing the lecture notes, ask on the course forum on Moodle any clarifying questions that you may have.

Reading list

The reading list for the course will be posted on Moodle. There is only one (1) reading that is mandatory before each course. The rest consists of supplemental readings, i.e., readings that are optional. When reading a paper on your own, try to take away the key intuitions, don’t dwell on details.

The mandatory articles will be available on Moodle in a PDF format. The supplementary articles are available for download through the UNSW network by using the direct link provided (please ask me if you have any difficulty to access an article you would like to read).

Other Resources

The other resources that we will be using include documentary movies. They be accessible on the Moodle website for the course.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Each year feedback is sought from students about the courses offered in the School and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. I am looking forward to your feedback, and a discussion forum will be specifically dedicated to receiving your feedback on the course. This way, you will be able to provide feedback continuously throughout the semester.

7. Course Schedule

Week 1: 23 July
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Introduction

Introduction to cognitive illusions: Visual illusions as a metaphor for irrationality, examples of cognitive illusions

In-class experiment (Experiment 1)

Explanation of the course structure and overview of the different parts

Presentation of the course website and the assignments

Week 2: 30 July
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Preferences

Prospect Theory: Value function, Probability weighting function

Assessment/Other

Experiments 2 & 3

Week 3: 6 August
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Preferences

Framing effects

Assessment/Other

Experiments 4 & 5

Week 4: 13 August
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Preferences

Non-consequentialism: Disjunction Effect, Self-deception

Assessment/Other

Experiments 6 & 7

Week 5: 20 August
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Preferences

Neurofinance: Risk as feelings, Ambiguity aversion, Hyperbolic discounting

Assessment/Other

Experiments 8 & 9

Week 6: 27 August
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Preferences

[2H EXPERIMENT]

Neurofinance: Gambling

Week 7: 3 September
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Beliefs

Expert judgment, Learning

Week 8: 10 September
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Beliefs

[2H EXPERIMENT]

Learning (cont.), Narratives & Superstitions

Week 9: 17 September
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Cognitive Biases—Beliefs

Risk perception

Mid-semester break : 24 September
Week 10: 1 October
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Behavioural Insights Applied to the Field: Nudges

Nudges to increase savings, reduce gambling, etc.

Assessment/Other

Watch Zimbardo and Milgram movies to prepare final in-class debate

Week 11: 8 October
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Behavioural Insights Applied to the Field: Nudges

Understanding the roots of corporate malfeasance: Zimbardo and Milgram experiments, Lessons for corporate governance

Week 12: 15 October
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Finish & Wrap-up Lecture

Final in-class experiment; rehearsal for final exam

Week 13: 22 October

8. Policies

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program.  They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.

RELATED DOCUMENTS


UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs are linked to UNSW Graduate Capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University's institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self- directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.



Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.

Plagiarism

UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism-quiz

Cheating

The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at: https://student.unsw.edu.au/aim.

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: http://subjectguides.library.unsw.edu.au/elise. For information on student conduct see:https://student.unsw.edu.au/conduct.

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/referencing. If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the'Managing your Program' website.

Workload

It is expected that you will spend at least nine to ten hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of eighteen to twenty hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload

Attendance

Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.


Special Consideration

You must submit all assignments and attend all examinations scheduled for your course. You can apply for special consideration when illness or other circumstances beyond your control, interfere with your performance in a specific assessment task or tasks. Special Consideration is primarily intended to provide you with an extra opportunity to demonstrate the level of performance of which you are capable.

General information on special consideration for undergraduate and postgraduate courses can be found in the Assessment Implementation Procedure and the Current Students page.

Please note the following:

  1. Applications will not be accepted by teaching staff. The lecturer-in-charge will be automatically notified when you lodge an online application for special consideration
  2. Decisions and recommendations are only made by lecturers-in-charge (or by the Faculty Panel in the case of final exam special considerations), not by tutors
  3. Applying for special consideration does not automatically mean that you will be granted a supplementary exam or other concession
  4. Special consideration requests do not allow lecturers-in-charge to award students additional marks

Business School Protocol on requests for Special Consideration

The lecturer-in-charge will need to be satisfied on each of the following before supporting a request for special consideration:

  1. Does the medical certificate contain all relevant information? For a medical certificate to be accepted, the degree of illness and its impact on the student must be stated by the medical practitioner (severe, moderate, mild). A certificate without this will not be valid. Students should also note that only medical certificates issued after physically visiting a registered medical practitioner will be accepted. Medical certificates submitted for Special Consideration should always be requested from a registered medical practitioner that you have seen at a medical practice. Certificates obtained online or via social media may be fraudulent and if relied upon could result in a breach of the UNSW Student Code.
  2. Has the student performed satisfactorily in the other assessment items? To understand what Satisfactory Performance means in this course, please refer to the 'Formal Requirements' section in Part A of your Course Outline

Special Consideration and the Final Exam in undergraduate and postgraduate courses

Applications for special consideration in relation to the final exam are considered by a Business School Faculty panel to which lecturers-in-charge provide their recommendations for each request. If the Faculty panel grants a special consideration request, this will entitle the student to sit a supplementary examination. No other form of consideration will be granted. The following procedures will apply:

  1. Supplementary exams will be scheduled centrally and will be held approximately two weeks after the formal examination period. Supplementary exams for Semester 1, 2018 will be held during the period 14 - 21 July, 2018. Supplementary exams for Semester 2, 2018 will be held during the period 8 - 15 December, 2018. Students wishing to sit a supplementary exam will need to be available during this period.
    If a student lodges a special consideration application for the final exam, they are stating they will be available on this date. Supplementary exams will not be held at any other time.

  2. Where a student is granted a supplementary examination as a result of a request for special consideration, the student’s original exam (if completed) will be ignored and only the mark achieved in the supplementary examination will count towards the final grade. Absence from a supplementary exam without prior notification does not entitle the student to have the original exam paper marked, and may result in a zero mark for the final exam.

The Supplementary Exam Protocol for Business School students is available at: http://www.business.unsw.edu.au/suppexamprotocol

For special consideration for assessments other than the final exam refer to the ‘Assessment Section’ in your course outline.


Protocol for Viewing Final Exam Scripts

The UNSW Business School has set a protocol under which students may view their final exam script. Please check the protocol here.

Given individual schools within the Faculty may set up a local process for viewing final exam scripts, it is important that you check with your School whether they have any additional information on this process. Please note that this information might also be included in your course outline.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School Education Quality and support Unit (EQS)
The EQS offers academic writing, study skills and maths support specifically for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, and individual consultations.
Level 1, Room 1033, Quadrangle Building.
bschoolconsults@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 7577 or 02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
learningcentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
advisors@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
externalteltsupport@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT
UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
itservicecentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
disabilities@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
counselling@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 5418

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