Specific degrees in behavioural economics are virtually nonexistent. The reason for this lies in the fact that it is a very specialised field of economics, and is usually studied in the context of a larger economics degree. However by combining fields of study, one can become an expert in the field. Essentially, majoring in economics and minoring in psychology is the way to the equivalent of a degree in behavioural economics.
Experts in behavioural economics have a solid foundation in traditional economics, combined with studies in various fields of psychology and cognitive psychology.
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What is Behavioral Economics?
Behavioural economics refers to the field of study which combines modern economic theories with various aspects of psychology. The goal is to understand the emotional and cognitive functions as they relate to economic decisions, to help economists more accurately predict the behaviour of individuals and groups in relationship to money. Experts working in this field understand the motivations and reasons consumers and companies have in making their economic decisions, enabling them to make better financial choices for themselves and their clients.
Behavioural Economics Degrees
Finding a school that offers a degree in behavioural economics is almost impossible unless one attends an institution that allows students to design their own degree program. The alternative to this is to receive an economics degree in a more traditional field, and then concentrate in behavioural economics. Most schools that offer postgraduate degrees in economics will have classes that deal with behavioural economics. By taking these classes along with the traditional degree, a student is setting themselves up to be competent in that field.
The best way to become an expert in the field of behavioural economics is to begin by taking a traditional economics path. Get the appropriate foundation, usually up to at least a bachelor's degree. Because the field of behavioural economics is so specialised, most people who focus on this field are doing so in their later years of education. Few schools will even offer a behavioural economics class to undergraduate students.
When a solid foundation in the field of economics is achieved, the student should then begin to add psychology classes. Cognitive psychology is the most common.
Choosing a School
Because there is no specific degree for behavioural economics, the best way to choose a school is to find one that offers a progressive economics department and a progressive psychology department. If you are an undergraduate, look further ahead to the master's level courses and see if there are specific behavioural economics classes. If the school offers any classes in this field, you will know that the school is capable of advising you in the right direction.
Many students interested in this field look for the current experts, and choose a school based on the instructors.
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- Education Portal: Behavioral Economics Degree and Certificate Program Overviews
- Education Portal: Behavioral Economics Master's Degree Programs
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- The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler and Sendhil Mullainathan