Behavioral Public Economics

Fall term 2020
Wednesday, 08.15–12.00
Location : Pérolles 21, F207
ECTS: 4.5




*** For those who cannot attend the first lecture or who are not already registered on MyUnifr, please contact Yannick Schmutz ( You will receive the password to join the course on Moodle where you will find the link to participate in the lesson online. ***


This seminar integrates recent contributions in behavioral economics with standard public economic theory and policy issues. Students learn about behavioral economics (aka “Economics and Psychology”) and its applications to the public sector. We discuss and learn to understand phenomena that deviate from the standard microeconomic model.

The course will introduce some of the main concepts of behavioral economics and discuss major public policy applications. For example, students will learn about behavioral anomalies and biases, Kahnemann and Tversky’s prospect theory, discuss reasons and consequences of fairness norms and pro-social behavior, ask if public policy should correct individual behavioral biases using Thaler and Sunstein’s nudges, or if the “salience” of some issue affects individual and/or collective decisions.

The teaching language is English. However, it is possible for students to write and present their work in English, French, or German.