Applied Behavioral Economics

Credits: 3


“Behavioral economics” has recently become a buzzword across business disciplines, whether as applied to finance, marketing, or management, and is increasingly discussed in medical, policy and legal circles. Across these fields, both academics and managers seek to use “nudges”—tools that use basic human psychology and decision-making tendencies—to shape behavior. But without a deep understanding of the principles that underlie behavioral economics, behaviorally-informed tools are applied in a highly ad-hoc fashion, are often misused or misinterpreted, and run the risk of becoming another fad that loses its power due to misuse. This course will prepare students to enter this discussion with both an accurate theoretical understanding and a systematic means and experience of applying that understanding.

The first half of the class will focus on providing students with the tools of behavioral economics, drawing from both rigorous popular press sources and original scientific research articles. This section of the course will culminate in a written mid-term focused on ensuring that students are equipped to continue to the project portion of the class.

Assuming adequate performance on the mid-term, groups will then work with one of three clients to conduct a behavioral economics audit, diagnose potential barriers to the firms’ strategic objectives, propose alterations to the decision-making environment, and present a means of testing the effectiveness of their proposal. Executives from partner firms will attend the groups’ final presentations, in order to provide feedback and evaluate proposed solutions.

Prerequisite(s): BMKT 2409 Marketing Management. Note: This course and BMKT 2035 Consumer Behavior may be taken concurrently.