Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ECON2141: Behavioural and Experimental Economics

Department: Business School (Economics and Finance)

ECON2141: Behavioural and Experimental Economics

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Principles of Economics (ECON1011) AND EITHER Economic Methods (ECON1021) OR (MATH1061) Calculus and Probability I AND (MATH1071) Linear Algebra I OR (MATH1541) Statistics AND (MATH1561) Single Maths A OR (MATH1551) Maths for Engineers and Scientists AND (MATH1541) Statistics OR successful completion of Phase 1 of the Economics programme at Shandong University, China


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide an understanding of theories in behavioral economics.
  • To provide training and exposure to experimental economics
  • Identify and understand the elements of experimental design
  • Analyze and critique an experimental design
  • Design and conduct an experiment


  • The course will expose students to theories of behavioral economics, mainly:
  • Shortcomings of the rational choice model and deviations from the Expected Utility Theory
  • Prospect theory and preference dependence
  • Time preferences
  • Social preferences and fairness
  • The contribution of experimental economics to understanding the behavioral side of economics, mainly:
  • What is an experiment
  • Why do experiments
  • Control in experiments
  • Statistics and design
  • Protocol and implementation
  • Field experiments
  • Additional topics may include:
  • Experimental tests of game theory
  • Social dilemmas and public goods
  • Empirical application of Experiments: development and Islamic finance

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module students should be able to understand research contributions in behavioural and experimental economics.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to apply problem solving and analytical skills to behavioural economic issues.
  • Be able to design experiments to test hypotheses that are related to economic theory.
  • Ability to identify behavioral aspects (either divergence or convergence) of economic theory.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication - through formative and summative assessments.
  • Oral communication - presenting of papers and participating in seminars.
  • Planning, organising and time management - by preparing for presentation, class discussions and examination.
  • Problem solving and analysis - by applying the necessary analytical and quantitative skills, as well as the ability to manipulate economics concepts, in answering exam questions and writing the summative assignment.
  • Numeracy - by applying core mathematical and statistical skills to answer a range of exam questions.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is by lectures and seminars supported by classroom experiments through the medium of a virtual online laboratory. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in seminars, experiments and private study.
  • Formative assessment is by means of seminar exercises and presentations.
  • Summative assessment is by means of an open-book written examination, in-class presentation and the written assignments.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 per week 1 hour 21
Seminars 8 4 in term 1, 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
Virtual Laboratory Online Session 16 1 per week from week 2 1.5 hour 24
Preparation and Reading 147
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One open book written examination 1 hour 30 minutes 100% Same
Component: Presentation Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
In-class presentation 15 minutes 100% Recorded presentation
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written assignment 2000 words max 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Seminar exercises and presentations.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University