Behavioural economics and experimental policy analysis

This course introduces experimental tools for evaluating and behavioural approaches in designing public policies, often related to the buzzword of “Nudges”. We will first study the methods for experimental policy evaluation, in particular, the Dos and Don'ts in designing randomized control trials (RCTs) and how to interpret any results. The course then covers selected evidence from behavioural economics that demonstrates how individual behaviour deviates from the paradigm of a rational, selfish decision maker. We discuss several field experiments that test “behaviourally informed” policies on, for instance, enforcing norm compliance, increasing voter turnout and motivating pro-social behaviour. The second part of the course is based on independent field projects. Students will design RCTs that aim at evaluating small scale interventions in different behavioural domains. Selected RCTs will be implemented; outcome data will be collected, analysed and evaluated.

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