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Crawford School of Public Policy

Behavioural Economics: Concepts, Tools and Applications

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This two-day course will provide an introduction to the methods used in behavioural economics. After an introduction to the basic concept of an experimental approach and why it may be needed to enable government and researchers to evaluate policy interventions, this course will explain the foundations of causal analysis, discuss important statistical concepts relevant for the design and implementation of randomised controlled trials as well as laboratory experiments, explain basic statistical methods needed to analyse trial data and provide examples and applications. Special emphasis will be put on the ingredients that are needed to run an effective and informative randomised controlled trial.

Course overview

The course will provide participants with the knowledge they require to understand general concepts of behavioural economics and to apply basic statistical tools to trial design, implementation and data analysis. The course will combine intuitive explanations with practical examples. It will involve basic mathematical and statistical concepts that will be explained as part of the course. The course is suitable for beginners and as a refresher for those with a basic statistics background.

The workshop will cover six main topics:

  • General concepts of behavioural economics
  • Causal analysis 101: If kangaroos had no tails, they would topple over
  • Randomisation and methodological issues
  • Natural, Laboratory and Field Experiments – Evaluation Methods of BE
  • Data analysis
  • Examples and applications
  • How to run a randomised controlled trial

The first day of this course will give an introduction to some general concepts of behavioural economics, provide an overview of causal analysis, and discuss methodological issues related to trial design and implementation. The second day will provide an introduction to important statistical and econometric concepts required to analyse trial data, discuss examples and applications and cover the basics required to run a randomised controlled trial.


Mathias Sinning is the Deputy Director of the ANU Tax and Transfer Policy Institute. He has previously held academic appointments at the ANU and the University of Queensland and has been a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University. Mathias is interested in the empirical analysis of issues related t...
Uwe Dulleck is a Professor in Applied Economics at QUT Business School, Economics and Finance and an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. Prior to joining QUT, Uwe was a Professor of Economics at the University of Linz, Austria and an Assistant Professor at the University of ...
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