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KAFP 3505 - Behavioral Policy

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

In this course, we will discuss behavioral economics and how it relates to public policy. Behavioral economics is the branch of economics that tries to understand why people make decisions that deviate from those predicted by standard economic theory, and what the consequences (and opportunities) of those deviations are. We will cover some of the main ideas in behavioral economics and examine how they relate to policy decisions in several different sectors in both high and low income country settings. The first half of the class will give students a basic understanding of the major ideas of behavioral economics that are relevant for public policy. The second half of the class will apply these ideas to policies in several different sectors.


  • HAGENBACH, Jeanne (Chargée de recherche)
  • LUCA, Mario (Teaching Assistant)

Pedagogical format

Lectures with participation from students. TA sessions will provide additional support and explanation as needed, in particular for students with weaker economics backgrounds. The final paper will be an individual product but will include structured group feedback.

Course validation

Grading will be based on a midterm (30%), and a final paper (60%). Classroom participation will be considered in the final paper grade.


For most sessions, students should prepare by reading the required assigned material, which will generally be no more than 30 pages. In some cases, students will be asked to complete additional exercises which will generally be interesting and not too difficult. The final paper is expected to be a substantial piece, on the order of 30 to 40 pages. While students will submit individual papers, they will be required to work in groups to review and comment on one another's drafts.

Required reading

  • Halpern (David). Inside the Nudge Unit: How small changes can make a big difference, Random House, 2015
  • Thaler (Richard) and Sunstein (Cass), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Yale University Press, 2008
  • World Bank, World Development Report 2015, World Bank, 2015
  • Kahneman (Daniel) Thinking, fast and slow, Macmillan, 2011