Topics in Behavioral and Experimental Economics

Times and places:
Tuesdays (1.3.-28.6.): 09:45 – 13:00, SR3, OMP 1
Do not miss the first session on March 1!

Course description
Behavioral and Experimental Economics is a vibrant field of research which sheds new light on many old and important issues in economics. The field is rapidly growing, best practice standards evolve and new methods are developed.

The purpose of the seminar is to critically discuss new developments in Behavioral and Experimental Economics in a small group of advanced students (PhD students are welcome). The course educates students to become critical consumers of current research in behavioral and experimental economics and aims at inspiring students for their own research projects.

Method and organization of the course: I propose readings on selected topics (see handout). In the first session, I briefly present the papers. Each student selects one (or two) papers on which s/he acts as a “pole of competence”. We determine the reading list and schedule in the first (and if necessary in the second) session. It is therefore imperative to participate in the first session. Students who cannot (for a good reason) participate in the first two sessions should send me an e-mail naming at least three papers from the reading list which they are committed to present one week before the first session.
Classroom discussion is organized as follows: The pole of competence provides a concise presentation of the paper (about 20’). We then discuss questions of technical detail as well as questions on context and interpretation. If time permits, we go through paper page by page (or line by line where necessary).
A successful “pole of competence” is able to summarize each section/paragraph in his or her own words at any time during the discussion, guides the discussion and is able to answer most questions by fellow students and the instructor. Competent navigation is particularly important when discussing long articles (e.g. surveys).
Participants are expected to read all papers, prepare questions and to contribute their own thoughts and views on the paper. Bring your annotated copy of the paper. Active participation is essential. Critical thought, controversy and debate is welcome (once we are clear about what the paper says).

Requirements: Participants need to have taken a class providing an introduction into the field, for example my lecture “Behavioral and Experimental Economics” (UK 040832). Students with comparable backgrounds can also be admitted but need to provide evidence that their knowledge is comparable (bring handout and grade of classes taken elsewhere to the first session). A sound knowledge of microeconomics and game theory is required. 

Successful completion of this course earns students 8 ECTS credits.


a.   Present. Hand in your slides on time (25%)

b.   Actively participate in discussion (35%). You must not miss more than two  sessions.

c.   Hand in two term papers consisting each of an extended abstracts (about 1 page) summarizing the paper in your own words. Add your comments and own thoughts (max. 3 pages). Best two attempts count (40%)

Deadline for handing in a) and c) is 10 am of the day before the Seminar.

Hints for preparing the extended Abstract:

Try to convince me that you a) carefully read the paper and thought about it. Original thoughts are welcome, and b) that you worked hard on the assignment. Be consistent. Avoid any sloppiness.
Cover page: Indicate name of the course, Univ. of Vienna, date, name and student number.
Layout: Pages must be numbered. Use a font of 12 points, margins of at least 2.5 cm, line spacing of 1.5 lines. Use a spell-checker (use either AmE or BritishE). Avoid typos. Mind your commas. Do not use “don’t”, “isn’t” etc. in formal writing.
Hints for writing: Be concise. Shorter is better. Think before writing. Critically review your text before handing it in. Ask yourself: does it say what I mean? Do I need this word or sentence to properly express my opinion? If not, cut it. Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought. Revise your text at least 5 times before handing in.


9         Introduction, organization and selection of Topics
12       No class (Easter)
13       No class (Easter)
17       No class
20       No class (Pentecost)
24       No class

Evaluation 2014 (thanks for the feedback! I particularly liked the comment: "Cool course! There should be more seminars with small groups")

sample extended abstract from 2014 and 2015

Handout     Guidelines     Previous years