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Behavioral Economics


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

Recommended course(s):

  • Principles of Economics and/or Microeconomics

  • Quantitative Research Methods


Behavioral Economics demonstrates that under certain circumstances people make decisions, which are not rational from the point of view of neoclassical economics. The fact that people deviate from rationality does not mean, however, that they are irrational or that they make their decisions in a chaotic way. In a nutshell, Behavioral Economics aims to elicit systematic behavioral patterns that better describe decision-making processes than rational choice theory. Besides introducing learners to major concepts and theories of Behavioral Economics (e.g., prospect theory, endowment effect), this course will have a strong applied component through replicating classical empirical papers in Behavioral Economics and generating new experimental data. Applied work is at the backbone of Behavioral Economics since this field in fact was born out of empirical evidence consistently demonstrating violation of rational choice theory assumptions under certain circumstances. Finally, the course will also show how Behavioral Economics can be effectively used in the public policy domain (behaviorally informed public policies).

Course Objectives

This course has the following main objectives:

  • Learners will understand the major concepts and theories in Behavioral Economics,

  • Learners will understand what implications these theories have for policy making,

  • Learners will be able to design an empirical (experimental) study to test the major theories of Behavioral Economics as well as examine novel behaviorally informed public policies,

  • Learners will be able to replicate seminal works in behavioral economics and analyze new data using statistical software.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2022-2023 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of interactive sessions discussing major concepts and theories of Behavioral Economics and student presentations.

Assessment Method

This course has the following grading requirements:

  • 10% Presentation of a concept in behavioral economics (duo-presentations)

  • 30% Written Midterm Exam

  • 15% Class participation

  • 30% Final project: conduct your own experiment and write a short paper about it

  • 15% Presentation of final project.

Reading list

  • A Course in Behavioral Economics (2021) by Erik Angner

  • Academic articles assigned during the course


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Max van Lent: