Introduction to Behavioural Economics for Policy


  • 11 and 12 November 9am-4.30pm

Location: St Andrews, The Terrace, Wellington

Course FULL

Course Outline 

Course learning objectives

Behavioural economics is an increasingly important part of modern economics. It allows policy makers to use psychological insights to increase the explanatory power of economic analysis.

The objective of this course is to provide participants with an appreciation of the principles of behavioural economics and demonstrate how these principles can be used in public policy analysis. To do this the course will help participants understand:

  • the strengths and limitations of the standard model of economics (e.g., expected utility or exponential discounting) and how alternative models informed by behavioural economics (e.g., prospect theory or present bias) complement and extend these classical theories;
  • the main principles of behavioural economics and how they apply to policy problems, such as: choice under uncertainty (risk preferences); choice over time (time preferences); choice over interpersonal allocations (social preferences); and judgement under uncertainty (probability assessments); and
  • how to apply these principles to policy analysis through the use of empiricism and evaluation.

Detailed case studies will be reviewed with practical frameworks that participants will be able to use by the end of the course.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course participants will:

  • have an understanding of key behavioural economics terms and concepts;
  • be able to apply behavioural economic thinking to current policy issues;
  • be able to apply existing behavioural frameworks and toolkits to policy analysis;
  • understand the basics of how to test policy interventions in the field; and
  • appreciate how behavioural economics can be used in many areas in the public sector.