Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2097: Behavioural Public Policy and the Nudge Agenda

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover the following topics:


-          What is Behavioural Public Policy?

-          Bounded Rationality; The Automatic and the Reflective System

-          Nudge & Libertarian Paternalism

-          Key Insights from Behavioural Economics

-          Social psychological insights

-          Nudge techniques


Throughout the module we discuss a variety of policy applications as outlined below, linking these to the underlying theory from behavioural economics and social psychology, and reviewing the . empirical evidence of their effects:


-          Health & Lifestyle

-          Environmental Behaviours

-          Payment of taxes

-          Savings and financial behaviour

-          Civic behaviour


In the last part of the module, we consider ethical and normative questions surrounding the use of behavioural public policy, evaluate the merits or otherwise of this approach and discuss how behavioural policy techniques can be complementary to others.

-          Ethical issues surrounding behavioural public policy

-          The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism

-          Combining Nudge with Regulation – ‘Budge’

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2211 x 2 hour Seminars – a mix of formal lectures, class and small group discussions, student presentations
Guided Independent Study55Reading and seminar preparation including take home summary sheets
Guided Independent Study25Preparation for research protocol
Guided independent study25Preparation for essay
Guided independent study28Preparation for group presentation – mix of individual and group preparation

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).