AØKA08107U Summerschool 2020: Behavioral and Experimental Economics

Volume 2020/2021

MSc programme in Economics – elective course

Bacheloruddannelsen i økonomi – valgfag efter 2. år

The Danish BSc programme in Economics - elective course after the 2.year


The PhD Programme in Economics at the Department of Economics - elective course with research module. PhD students must contact the study administration and the lecturer in order to register for the research module.



Behavioral economics attempts to make economics a more relevant and powerful science of human behavior by integrating insights from psychology and the social sciences into economics. Experimental economics adapts methods developed in the natural sciences to study economic behavior. Experiments are valuable in testing to what extent the integration of insights from other disciplines into economics is necessary and fruitful. Behavioral and Experimental Economics is a vibrant field of research in economics and sheds new light on many old and important issues in economics. The field has received wide recognition in recent years, for example by the award of the Nobel Prize in Economics 2002 to Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith. The field is rapidly growing. This course can therefore not provide a comprehensive overview but concentrates on selected topics instead.


The course addresses the following questions: What are the advantages and limitations of experimental economics? How important are deviations from the assumptions of full rationality and strict self-interest in determining outcomes of economic interaction? It is argued that identifying individual-level “anomalies” is not sufficient to demonstrate their economic and social importance. Instead, it must be analyzed how institutions mitigate and multiply these anomalies. A broad range of institutions, including markets, bargaining and voting is discussed.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Know how the toolbox of experimental economics can be used in research. They know how economic theory can be confronted with experimental data.

  • Participate in a series of demonstration experiments and therefore learn how experiments work in practice from the participants’ perspective.

  • Learn in what ways people systematically deviate from rational and self-interested behavior in individual decision making.

  • Learn in what ways markets and other forms of economic interaction can multiply or mitigate these biases. This knowledge is most relevant in the context of institutional choice or design (e.g. from an economic policy perspective).

  • Participate in a series of demonstration experiments and therefore learn how experiments work in practice from the participants’ perspective.


  • Become critical consumers of the rapidly growing behavioral and experimental economics literature.

  • Recognize and avoide pitfalls in decision-making.

  • Write short papers to analyze experimental data and to reflect on the data and the experimental design. Students therefore improve their writing and reasoning skills.


  • Gain a deeper understanding of the basic principles of rationality and self-interest in economics. Students are therefore able to critically reflect the conventional wisdom in economics.


A sound knowledge of microeconomics and game theory as the course Microeconomics III at the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen or at a likely intermediate level is required (e.g. Varian: Intermediate Microeconomics, Gibbons: A Primer in Game Theory).
The course has three elements:
- Lectures: Discussion of selected examples of research in behavioral and experimental economics. Explaining the relevance of demonstration experiments and how the data compares to findings in the literature.
- Demonstration experiments. Students participate in demonstration experiments in our experimental laboratory.
- Assignments: Students analyze the data from the demonstration experiment (i.e. their own behavior) and reflect on possible explanations for observed behavior. Deadlines are strict (see handout). Detailed knowledge of the literature is not required at this stage.

In case of a pandemic like Corona the teaching in this course may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online. For further information, see the course room on Absalon.
Schedule 2020:
Teaching: August 3rd to 7th, 10th to 14th, 17th to 21st from 10 AM to 1 PM.
Experiments: August 4th, 7th, 14th from 8 AM to 3 PM

Due to the situation with Corona, the teaching or schedule may change. Please consult Absalon.

Teaching plan:
Week 1
August 3: Introduction
August 4: Experiments I
Hand in assignment 1 by August 7, 10 AM
August 5: Introduction
August 6: Markets
August 7: Experiments II
Hand in assignment 2 by August 11th, 10 AM

Week 2
August 10: Loss aversion
August 11: Biases in probability judgments
August 12: Strategic complementarity and coordination
August 13: Money illusion
August 14: Experiments III
Hand in assignment 3 by August 18th, 10 AM

Week 3
August 17: Fairness
August 18: Fairness / Voting
August 19: Voting
August 20: Public Goods
August 21: Public Goods / Q&A time

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of classroom please press the link under "Timetable"/​?"Se skema" at the right side of this page.

You can find the similar information in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-B5-5F20; [Name of course]””
-Select Report Type: "List - Week Days"
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn – Week 31-5”
Press: “ View Timetable”
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 144
  • Practical exercises
  • 18
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
in the exam venues of the University.

The exam assignment is given in English and must be answered in English.

In case of a pandemic like Corona the date, time and type of assessment and aids may be changed. Any further information will be announced in this section.
Exam registration requirements

Full participation at the summerschool is mandatory and the student must actively participate in all activities.

Participation in experiments and analysis of experimental data is required for admission to final exam.


a) Participating in all demonstration experiments is an essential element of this course. However, students are not expected to prepare these experiments. Students earn a “pass” if they are present (see schedule), are attentive and make “reasonable” choices during the experiment.

b) Students provide a rough analysis after each experimental session and answer specific questions concerning the experiment in a paper (“assignment”). Knowledge of the literature is not expected at this stage (we will talk about the experiments in the lecture). Maximum length of a paper: 4 pages text (not counting graphs, tables, see separate guidelines for more details). Students work in groups 2 or 3.


Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
for the written exam. The exam may be chosen for external censorship by random check.
Exam period

The exam takes place

24 August 2020


Exam information:

The exact time of the exam will be available in Digital Exam from Early August.


In special cases, the exam date can change to another day and time within the exam period.


More information about examination, rules, aids etc. is available at  Master (UK) and Master (DK). and Bachelor (DK).



The reexam takes place

December 2020/January 2021

as a 20 minutes oral exam without preparation.

No aids allowed during the exam.


The student makes a blind draw of a question within the syllabus and has 1-2 minutes to reflect on an answer by drawing graphs, writing equations or taking notes. The question is an opportunity to start the conversation. The assessors ask other questions and thus assess the student. The student can choose not to answer the first question and pick another one. However, this will affect the grade.


More info: MasterUK, MasterDK, Bachelor

Criteria for exam assesment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.


To pass the exam, the student must be able to demonstrate a performance meeting the minimum requirements for acceptance of the relevant material and of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.