What is Behavioral Economics?
Behavioral Economics may sound highfalutin but the concept is really simple. It’s really all about how people make economic and financial decisions based on their current psychological preoccupation.
Have you ever purchased something irrationally on a whim just because you felt like it? Or have you ever put off purchases because there were too many choices and you got too confused? That is actually Behavioral Economics at play.
The field of Behavioral Economics is another offshoot of psychology that specifically deals with the behavior of people when purchasing. When talking about behavior, several considerations are put forward. These considerations include: social dynamics, cognitive processing and emotional dynamics. In this field, certain behaviors tied with purchase decisions are studied and examined in order to get a clearer view of how people’s minds work when buying (or not buying).
Why are more and more people taking up Behavioral Economics?
It seems that all the top universities are jumping in on the Behavioral Economics bandwagon. A lot of them are now offering a graduate program in behavioral economics. This graduate program is open to any college major who wishes to further their studies. Those who pursue Behavioral Economics post-studies are mostly business, economics and psychology majors.
The benefit in gaining a post graduate degree in behavioral economics is twofold: 1) to get an idea of how the market works; and, 2) to gain an understanding of how people’s minds make purchase decisions. Economics used to just focus on assumptions of the supply and demand. With Behavioral Economics, students get to learn how a person’s real mindset can drive an increase in demand (and thereby lessening the supply).
A degree in behavioral economics will come in handy for someone who is looking to work in the field of marketing. A lot of organizations now have better insights on how people make decisions when purchasing their products. They need professionals with in-depth understanding of behavioral economics to help guide them. Aside from private corporations, those with degrees in behavioral economics can find employment in educational institutions. Universities are always in need of teaching staff and researchers.
Colleges and Universities that offer Behavioral Economics Graduate Programs
Here’s an unofficial list of colleges and universities that offer behavioral economics graduate programs.
- University of California – San Diego—offers a graduate program on economics with behavioral economics as part of the curriculum.
- University of Pennsylvania – Wharton – has a behavioral economics program as part of their business economics and public policy department. This is actually an undergraduate program where graduates can then take a Master’s in economics program.
- New York University—they have a Neuroeconomics graduate program, which is a mixture of psychology and economics.
- Harvard University Law School—their behavioral economics program is tied in with their public policy program.
- Princeton University—is another Ivy League school that has a graduate program in economics which has a concentration in behavioral economics.
- University of Wisconsin – Madison—they offer a Master’s program in economics and behavioral economics is one of the courses offered.
- Duke University Fuqua School of Business—Dan Ariely, a best-selling author on behavioral economics, teaches this course in this business school.
- University of Michigan—another university with an economics graduate program.
- Claremont Graduate University—they have a PhD program in economics and behavioral economics is a specialization included in the program.
- University of California – Irvine—they have a PhD graduate program in economics that also focuses on behavioral economics.
- Columbia University—has an MBA course on Behavioral Economics and Decision Making taught by Professor Eric Johnson.
- University of Toronto—has a BE101 course called Behavioral Economics in Action.
If you’re interested in behavioral economics, you should find out more about the program by checking the websites of the schools we have listed above. There are definitely other schools that were not included in our list. Let us know about these schools by hitting our comments section.
A very good book about behavioral economics, which I can highly recommend is BEHAVECON from Author Jan Dominik Gunkel: http://get.behavecon.com
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