Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ECON2141: Behavioural and Experimental Economics

Department: Economics

ECON2141: Behavioural and Experimental Economics

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Principles of Economics (ECON1011) AND EITHER Economic Methods (ECON1021) OR Calculus I (MATH1061) AND Linear Algebra I (MATH1071) AND Probability I (MATH1597) AND Statistics I (MATH1617)


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


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


  • The course will expose students to theories of behavioural economics, and is likely to include:
  • 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 behavioural 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 behavioural 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 - preparing for presentation, class discussions and examination.
  • Problem solving and analysis - 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 to prepare for online exam.
  • Summative assessment is by means of online examination to test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter worth 100% of the module mark.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Seminars 8 4 in Term 1, 4 in Term 2 1 hour 8
Revision Lectures 2 1 per week 1 hour 2
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written online examination 2 hours 3,000 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

One written piece of work to prepare students for the summative exam.

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