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Unit of study_

ECOS3016: Experimental and Behavioural Economics

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

Experimental economics uses experimental methods to evaluate the performance of economic models, institutions and policies. Behavioural economics combines experimental and field evidence with insights from neighbouring disciplines such as psychology, to develop richer economic models of decision-making. This unit will develop the key research methods and major findings of each of these fields, and explore both theoretical and practical implications. Students will read a number of seminal research papers in both experimental and behavioural economics, and will have opportunities to participate in classroom experiments.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ECOS3016
Academic unit Economics
Credit points 6
ECOS2001 or ECOS2901
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Stephen Cheung,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final examination
A traditional online final exam.
45% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Online task Behavioural questionnaire
Online questionnaire regarding your economic preferences and behaviour.
5% Week 02
Due date: 20 Aug 2021 at 23:59

Closing date: 20 Aug 2021
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
In-semester test (Record+) Type B in-semester exam Mid-semester test
A traditional online midterm exam.
25% Week 08
Due date: 06 Oct 2021 at 11:00

Closing date: 06 Oct 2021
1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment group assignment Policy briefing paper
Behavioural economic analysis of a contemporary policy issue.
25% Week 13
Due date: 12 Nov 2021 at 23:59

Closing date: 12 Nov 2021
1,500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
Type B in-semester exam = Type B in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment will be provided through Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction; Choice under certainty: Standard theory Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 02 Non-standard decision-making Lecture (2 hr)  
Tutorial: Properties of binary preference relations Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 Loss aversion: Evidence and theory Lecture (2 hr)  
Discussion of reading: The endowment effect Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 Loss aversion: Applications Lecture (2 hr)  
Tutorial: Review of probability theory Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 Non-standard beliefs Lecture (2 hr)  
Special topic: Economic policy and behavioural change Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 Choice under risk: Standard theory Lecture (2 hr)  
Discussion of reading: The “law of small numbers” Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 07 Decision-making under risk Lecture (2 hr)  
Special topic: Incentives Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Decision-making under uncertainty Lecture (2 hr)  
Special topic: Social norms Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 Choice over time: Standard theory and experiments Lecture (2 hr)  
Tutorial: Review of game theory Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 11 Choice over time: Behavioural theory and applications Lecture (2 hr)  
Discussion of readings: Neuroeconomics Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 Other-regarding preferences Lecture (2 hr)  
Discussion of reading: Demand for commitment Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 13 Behavioural insights for policy Lecture (2 hr)  
Discussion of reading: Fair wages and effort Tutorial (1 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

  • Prescribed text: Angner, E., 2016. A Course in Behavioral Economics, 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan. (Any edition is acceptable, however lecture notes will refer to the second edition.)

All other required readings for this unit will be made accessible through the Reading List link on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand how experimental and behavioural economics relate to other methods and bodies of thought, and in particular to ‘standard’ economic theory
  • LO2. Demonstrate familiarity with the main areas to which experimental and behavioural economics have been applied, and some key findings that have been observed in each of these areas
  • LO3. Recognise the major departures from rationality that are identified in experimental and behavioural economics
  • LO4. Understand how economic theories are being revised in light of experimental and behavioural economics findings
  • LO5. Appreciate how experimental and behavioural economics methods contribute to explaining field phenomena, and the design of policy
  • LO6. Critically review and evaluate original research in experimental and behavioural economics

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

In 2020, three special topics were added to support the group project assignment. In 2021, the unit remains substantively unchanged from 2020.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.