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Behavioural Economics and Game Theory (Economics)

The study programme

In this specialisation track you will delve into the psychology of economic decisions, during courses on advanced game theory, behavioural economics, experimental economics, neuroeconomics and evolutionary game theory. The lecture material will include both classic results in these fields as well as cutting edge research results. You will learn how to use the experimental method to approach a research question, and how to run your own small scale experiments. During the thesis, you will develop your own research question and answer it.

The programme

Behavioural Economics and Game Theory is one of the tracks of the MSc Economics. During your Master's you will follow 3 general courses and 5 track-specific courses. You will finish with a thesis. 

  • Macroeconomics
    Period 1

    In this course you will learn about modern macroeconomic models. You will learn how to use these models to explain and evaluate recent events and policy interventions. For example, the effect of uncertainty on savings, welfare and investment, the causes and nature of unemployment and inflation and the role of monetary and fiscal authorities.

  • Microeconomics and Game Theory
    Period 1

    In this course you will learn to understand the workings and limitations of the market. You will learn how to analyse consumer and producer behaviour and how to use basic game theory. The central question is: what can markets do and when do they fail? What determines the outcome, and how does that depend on market structure?

  • Applied Econometrics
    Period 1
    Period 2

    In this course you will learn about regression analysis. In applied economics this is a powerful tool to analyse empirical relationships. You will learn how to interpret estimation and testing results and build a satisfactory empirical model. You will follow lectures and take part in lab sessions to acquire practical econometric skills by making computer exercises.

  • Advanced Game Theory
    Period 2

    In this analytically challenging course you will dive into the concept of strategic interdependent decision making. Study theoretical concepts and their applications like the oligopoly, auctions, bargaining, reputation and signalling.

  • Behavioural Economics
    Period 2

    In this course you will learn to understand the psychological underpinnings of economics behaviour and of recent theories in behavioural economics. By critically reading and evaluating academic papers you will gain insight in individual choice and strategic interaction, especially social preferences and reciprocity.

  • Experimental Economics
    Period 3

    In this course you will learn the basic methodology of experimental economics: how to design a simple experiment, including writing instructions. You will practice both with laboratory and field experimentation evolving around industrial organisation, labour economics, behavioural economics and individual and group decision making.

  • Evolution and Behaviour
    Period 4

    How does evolution shape human behaviour in general and behaviour in economic situations in particular? To answer this question you will learn to understand the basic principles of evolutionary dynamics and evolutionary game theory.

  • Choose 1 out of 2 electives
    Period 4

    Choose Neuroeconomics or Topics in Behavioural Economics

  • Thesis
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 5
    Period 6

    The academic programme culminates in a thesis, which allows you to engage with state-of-the-art data analysis and statistical techniques. The Master’s thesis is the final requirement for your graduation. It is your chance to dive deep into a topic in your field of choice (track) that you are enthusiastic about, and allows you to do an independent research project. A professor of your track will supervise and support you in writing your thesis.

Compulsory course

Honours Programme

If you are a student of the Economics MSc and you have a record of academic excellence, a critical mind and an enthusiasm for applied research, then our Economics Honours programme is a great opportunity for you.

Copyright: Nee
This MSc perfectly blends my 2 passions: economics and policy analysis. It's a challenging programme, that teaches you hard and soft skills. Anouk Roethof Read about Anouk's experiences with this Master's
Copyright: UvA EB
Small group experiments, inspirational guest speakers or presentation assignments. My way of teaching is interactive and challenging. Joël van der Weele, coordinator of the Master’s track Behavioural Economics and Game Theory and teacher of both courses. Read the full interview
Real-life case: understanding Brexit

Analyse the Brexit negotiations using game theory. Game theory is invented by John Nash, the Nobel prize winner featured in the film 'A Beautiful Mind'. The theory is about mathematically determining the likely outcomes when 2 or more parties are negotiating. It provides a logical way of picking through various claims and counter-claims.

Contemporary issues

Examples of current newspaper headlines and relevant issues that could be discussed in your classroom.

  • Does overconfidence affect risk taking and financial returns?
  • What is the optimal gasoline tax in a Europe without borders?
  • Experimental economics: are people inclined to take more risk under stress?
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