ECON4260 – Behavioral Economics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

This course provides an overview of behavioral economics. Behavioral economics incorporates descriptively accurate assumptions about cognitive ability, social interaction, moral motivation, and emotional responses into economic modeling and explores the implications of this for human behavior and economic outcomes. These assumptions are often motivated by empirical findings in psychology, sociology and related disciplines, as well as the field of experimental economics. Behavioral economics seeks to generate theoretical insights, make more accurate predictions of field phenomena, and suggest welfare improving policies.

Main topics:

  • Behavioral decision theory.
  • Time inconsistency and self-control.
  • Social preferences and fairness.

Learning outcome

You should

  • become familiar with selected important contributions to behavioral economics,
  • understand the relevance of these contributions for analysis of economic behavior,
  • in particular, understand under what conditions and in what ways these contributions may substantially alter predictions and/or policy recommendations based on previous economic models.

You should

  • be able to critically assess the importance of these contributions for the understanding of economic behavior, in particular, be able to discuss the following problem: How descriptively accurate assumptions about human behavior do we need for economic analysis?
  • be able to use formal modelling approaches introduced in the course to solve simple, illustrative problems,
  • be able to apply the ideas and intuitive arguments discussed in the course in your own applied economic analyses, such as analysis of specific policies not explicitly discussed in the course. 

You should

  • be able to read and understand project reports and journal articles that make use of the concepts and methods that are introduced in the course,
  • be able to make use of the course content in your own academic work, for example in analyses that are part of the master’s thesis.


Students admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students not admitted to the Master’s programme in Economics or the Master’s programme in Economic Theory and Econometrics (Samfunnsøkonomisk analyse), can apply for admission to one of our study programmes, or apply for guest student status.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

You must fulfill one of these prerequisites:


Lectures and seminars.


A 3-hour written school exam.

Previous exams

Exam papers with comments from examiner

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course

Every autumn
Every autumn
Teaching language