Course code ECN304

ECN304 Behavioral and Experimental Economics

There may be changes to the course due to to corona restrictions. See Canvas and StudentWeb for info.

Norsk emneinformasjon

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2020 - 2021 .

Course responsible: Stein Terje Holden
Teachers: Frode Alfnes
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel.
Course frequency: <p>Annually</p><p>Will not be offered in Autumn 2021</p>
First time: 2012H
Preferential right:
Course contents:

The course gives Insights into advanced theories in behavioral Economics with special focus on the behavior of producers and consumers in relation to market transactions and how they relate to risk and uncertainty.

Topics in behavioral economics: Rational vs. irrational behavior, uncertainty and expected utility, prospect theory, time preferences and discounting, risk preferences and responses to risk, altruism, fairness, trust, endowment effects. Topics in experimental design: Basic design issues, implementation of laboratory experiments, field Experiments, internal and external validity.

Learning outcome:

The students learn to distinguish rational from irrational behavior based on Expected Utility Theory and discounted utility maximization for intertemporal choice.

Students learn about systematic deviations from Expected Utility Theory and how Prospect Theory may predict such behavior.

Students learn about the advantages and limitations of laboratory and field experiments (internal and external validity).

Students learn a set of standard experimental games and methods and what has been learnt from these: Dictator game, Ultimatum game, Trust game, public goods game, methods to elicit risk preferences, methods to elicit time preferences

Students are given one exercise where they will design their own experiment which they will present in class

Learning activities:
Lectures and discussions in class, exercises in groups, writing of individual submissions. There are four compulsory exercises in the course including one on social preferences, one on risk and risk preferences, one of time preferences and one where the students design their own experiment and present in class.
Teaching support:
Students will have access to detailed information about the course with access to the relevant literature through Canvas. Supervision by the teacher during exercises.
A detailed list of readings will be presented at the beginning of the course and made available in Canvas. General textbook: Wilkinson, N. and Klaes, M. (2012). An Introduction to Behavioral Economics. 2nd Edition. Palgrave Macmillan.
ECN201 Econometrics, STAT100 Statistics.
Recommended prerequisites:
ECN311 Microeconomics III
Mandatory activity:

Four compulsory exercises must have been submitted and accepted (quality check) before a candidate can take the exam. Exercises are valid until the next time the course is offered and for re-examination.

Exercise 1: Social preferences. The students are subjects in the exercise to get a feel for how that is. They also learn about findings from such Experiments.

Exercise 2. Risk preferences. The students are given an Experimental protocol (Multiple Price List Approach) for interviewing respondents and are given the task to interview 5 persons each with this protocol and then asked to design a way to standardize such interviews.

Exercise 3. Time preferences. The students are given a data set collected by other students in the course in the past based on an Experimental protocol to elicit time preferences. They shall organize the data and do econometric analysis of the experimental data to test three central hypotheses about time preferences anomalies. 

Exercise 4. The students design their own experiment and present in class. They vote on the best experiment/presentation.

Written examination, 3,5 hours (100%)
Nominal workload:
300 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
Lectures 2 hours per week, exercises 0-2 hours per week

The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course. 

Please note that the course will not be offered in the Autumn semester of 2021.  

External examiner will control the quality of syllabus, questions for the final examination, and principles for the assessment of the examination answers.
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Written exam: A - E / F