Programme overview

Behavioural Economics
Student smiling at the camera

Behavioural Economics gives you both a solid training in mainstream economics and the tools and models to use psychological insights to improve predictions and design effective products, strategies, and policies. The curriculum consists of courses in empirical methods, mainstream economics, as well as Behavioural Economics.

In two courses, you will learn how to deal with different types of data, and get familiar with popular statistical software such as STATA and R. Additionally, you can choose between three economics tracks, corresponding with our other Economics and Business specialisations:

  • Financial Economics track
  • Strategy Economics track
  • Marketing track

These tracks consist of courses and seminars of the corresponding specialisations of the MSc in Economics and Business.

In the core Behavioural Economics courses (4 credits each) you will learn the most recent insights from Behavioural Economics. In the Behavioural Economics seminar (10 credits) you get the chance to apply these insights in a highly interactive setting. The core behavioural economics courses and seminar include:

  • Advanced Behavioural Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • Seminar Applied Behavioural Economics

On top of this, students can choose a behavioural elective such as Advanced Behavioural Finance or Economics of Negotiations, depending on their chosen track.


The curriculum consists of:

The coursework for the programme entails 50% of behavioural economic courses (22 ECTS), 32% of the chosen track (14 ECTS), and 18% of empirical methods. The core coursework consists of roughly 40% theory (mainly in lectures) and 60% application (mainly in the seminar).

In class

A case from the Seminar Applied Behavioural Economics in previous years: a major Dutch life insurance, pensions and asset management company wanted to determine the optimal allocation of pension capital for each individual client. To do so, they wanted to learn about their clients’ individual risk attitude. An important constraint was that many clients have neither the time nor the inclination to fill in extensive surveys. The students worked in groups to propose improvements to the questionnaire used by the company, based on insights from economic theory, experimental economics, and psychology. 

Study schedule

The Take-Off is the introduction programme for all new students at Erasmus School of Economics. During the Take-Off you will meet your fellow students, get acquainted with our study associations and learn all the ins and outs of your new study programme, supporting information systems and life on campus and in the city.

In this course we provide students with knowledge of econometric methods which are relevant for applied economics. In particular, this course first refreshes the essentials of the standard regression model, and subsequently it covers methods that can be useful when the dependent variable of interest is endogenous. The last part of the course introduces models that are useful when the dependent variable is binary.

Students follow a hands-on approach to understanding empirical econometric methods, in this way getting the opportunity to develop experience with the application of these methods in their own field of specialization.

The course consists of lectures, exercise lectures and group practical work. The lectures present and discuss each method and relevant applications. In the exercise lectures, students are taught how to implement the methods themselves. The main student activity consists of practical empirical applications, where the methods are applied to real-world datasets in applied economics.

Economic agents often do not behave as the rational Homo Economicus. In behavioral economics the standard economic models and theories are adapted to incorporate the economically most relevant findings from psychology. Thereby, behavioral economic research strives to develop models with a higher predictive power than standard economic models. The challenge for behavioral economics is to maintain the balance between predictive power and complexity of the models.
This course will give an up-to-date overview of the most relevant behavioral economic models. Students will learn the differences between the various models. This will enable them to recognize which type of model is most appropriate in specific contexts.

* Students choose one of the Tracks listed below.

  • Strategy Economics Track
    • One of the following courses
      • Economics of Organisations
      • Economics of Strategy
    • Economics of Negotiations
    • Seminar Global Firm Strategy
  • Financial Economics Track
    • One of the following courses
      • Advanced Corporate Finance and Strategy
      • Advanced Investments
      • any other Financial Economics elective
    • One of the following courses
      • Advanced Behavioural Finance
      • Economics of Negotiations
    • One of the following seminars
      • Seminar Advanced Corporate Finance: Private Equity
      • Seminar Risk Management
      • Seminar Advanced Money, Credit and Banking
      • Seminar Finance for Sustainability
      • Seminar Advanced Corporate Finance: Corporate Governance
      • Seminar Behavioural Finance
      • Seminar Institutional Asset Management
      • Seminar Topics in FinTech
  • Marketing Track
  • One of the following courses
    • Branding
    • Sales & Account Management
  • Economics of Negotiations
  • One of the following seminars
    • Seminar Developing and Marketing New Products
    • Seminar Customer Intelligence and CRM
    • Seminar Global Brand Strategy

Experiments are an increasingly important tool in economics. They are, for instance, used to understand why financial investors spend too little on stocks, why consumers are reluctant to change brands, and in the analysis of labor market decisions. This course deals with the following questions:

  • Why are experiments such a powerful tool to discover the causal effect of a treatment?
  • What exactly are economic experiments?
  • Why should incentives be given in economic experiments work? Do they always work?
  • How can utility be measured with experiments?
  • What kind of statistical analyses are needed for experimental data?
  • What is the optimal sample size to discover the causal effect of interest?
  • Are results found in the laboratory predictive of behavior in the real world?
  • How can we test lab-field generalizability by means of field experiments?

Course ID FEM11164

Behavioural economics models systematic deviations from the standard economic model. This seminar will show how to take into account these deviations to improve the design and implementation of business strategies and public policies.

The course will consist of guest lectures and case studies in partnership with companies and public organization.

Students need to write a thesis on a behavioural economics topic. The thesis is an individual assignment about a subject from your Master's specialisation. More information about thesis subjects, thesis supervisors and the writing process can be found on the Master thesis website.

The overview above provides an impression of the curriculum for this programme for the academic year 2023-2024. It is not an up-to-date study schedule for current students. They can find their full study schedules on MyEUR. Please note that minor changes to this schedule are possible in future academic years.

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