PS468E      Half Unit
Behavioural Science and Policy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Paul Dolan QUE.3.08


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Behavioural Science. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course aims to introduce students to the main concepts and tools of the growing fields of behavioural science. The course covers the following topics: What is behavioural science?; What are preferences to economists and psychologists?; Dual-process models of behaviour and the role of the unconscious mind; Dual processing into policy using the MINDSPACE checklist; the role of emotions in decision making; compensating behaviours; breaking and creating habits; the use of carrots and sticks to trigger behaviour change.


15 hours of lectures and 7 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the MT.

Indicative reading

Dolan, P. (2014). Happiness by design: finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life. London: Allen Lane. 

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking Fast and Slow. London: Penguin Books

Ayres, Ian, Carrots and Sticks, Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done, Bantam, 2010.

Weber, E.U., and Johnson, E.J. (2009). Mindful judgment and decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 53-85.

Rabin, M. (1998). Psychology and Economics. Journal of Economic Literature, 36, 11-46.

Loewenstein, G., Weber, E.U., Hsee, C.K., and Welch, N. (2001). Risk as feelings. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 267-286.

Thaler, R. and Sunstein, C. (2003) Libertarian paternalism, American Economic Review, 93, 2, 175-179.

Gneezy U, Meier S, Rey-Beil P (2011), “When and Why Incentives (Don’t) Work to Modify Behavior”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(4):191-210.

Kamenica, Emir (2012), “Behavioral Economics and Psychology of Incentives”, Annual Review of Economics, vol. 4, 427-52.


Take home exam (100%) in the MT.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: 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
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills