HP4D6E      Half Unit
Behavioural Insights for Health Incentive Design

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joan Costa-Font COW 1.06


This course is available on the Executive MSc in Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences and Executive MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course it is structured in three sections. The first section introduces behavioural incentives, cognitive biases, behavioural market and political failure in the health and health care . Methods for behavioural inventive design. Health perceptions learning and behaviour formation. Rational learning, bounded learning, Bayesian learning, Social learning, Emotional learning. A second section discusses specific behavioural incentives. More specifically, monetary and social incentives in explaining health behaviours. It discusses the effects of personal budgets, social norms social preferences. The section convers identity models, as well as the role of envy, guilt and regret. Next, it discusses the effect of narratives, and the effect of esteem and stigma. The section then addresses the role of altruism and health, and health inequality aversion. Finally, the course discusses the role of nudge and reference points, alongside the cultural transmission and joint formation of health behaviours.  A final section is devoted to study the specific behavioural mechanisms such as the role of behavioural spillovers and prevention failures, time and heuristics in health care use. Anchoring, reminders risk and preferences, risk perceptions. Hassle costs and insurance misunderstandings.


12 hours of lectures and 16 hours of workshops in the ST.

12 hours (8 lectures x 1.5-hour) interactive lectures which include applications, theory, experiments and informal assessments using adequate software.

16h workshop sessions which include a presentation a question that builds on the content of the lectures, and students will be allowed to build on their experience. The time includes 9h of workshop preparation alongside 7h of presentation (which includes 10 minute presentation plus 5 minutes of a Q/A). Workshop preparation will be a session in groups of four where students will discuss the concepts of the course and carry out research to prepare for the workshop presentation and it will take place at the end of each day and before the workshop. The workshop presentation will be on a predefined area, and on a question that either chosen by each student group or, suggested to the student.

Formative coursework

It is expected students to participate in organised discussion during workshop preparations and will prepare for the workshop presentations.

Indicative reading

• Hanoch, Y, A Barnes and T Rice (2017) Behavioural Economics and Healthy Behaviors: Key Concepts and Current Research. Routledge.


Project (75%, 3000 words) and presentation (25%) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills