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Seminar on constitutional economics: The Economic Model of Behavior, Its Applications and Extensions

Course description 

Explaining economic behavior, behavioral anomalies and their implications is an exciting area of economic inquiry, not only in economic theory but also for practical applications. While the assumptions of the Homo Oeconomicus have long dominated economic research, we have gained new insights from incorporating psychology or sociology into economic modeling. This seminar aims at providing students with an understanding of the essential features, applications and extensions of the standard economic model of behavior. In particular, we will discuss how Homo Oeconomicus evolves when we use empirical observations from lab or field experiments to modify assumptions of economic decision- making. 


Who can participate? 

The seminar is aimed at Master students. We expect participants to actively contribute to the course, in particular to the discussion of the literature and the presentations during the block seminar. 



Attendance is limited to 10 students. Participation is determined by order of application. If you are interested, please send an email to Katharina Pfeil ( Please remember to state your area of study and your registration number (Matrikelnummer). 



Organizational Meeting Topics are assigned by Deadline seminar paper Block seminar, Oral Exam 

Organizational Meeting         April 23, 2019, 10:00, Walter Eucken Institut  

Topics are assigned by         May 02, 2019

Deadline seminar paper        July 14, 2019

Block seminar                       July 26 - 27, 2019, Walter Eucken Institut 

Oral Exam                            July 29, 2019, Walter Eucken Institut 


Requirements and credit points 

Participants can obtain 4 (or 6) credit points if they successfully complete the following assignments: Seminar paper, presentation, participation in the discussion (and oral exam). 


Areas of study 

  • Master BWL-PM: Wahlpflichtbereich Public Sector Economics 
  • Master VWL (PO 2011): Wahlpflichtmodul Volkswirtschaftspolitik 
  • Master VWL (PO 2014): Spezialisierungsbereich Constitutional Economics and Competition Policy
  • Master VWL (PO 2014): Spezialisierungsbereich Public Sector Economics and International Taxation



Block A: Roots, Evolution and Applications of the Homo Oeconomicus 

1. Homo Oeconomicus: Assumptions, Applications and Limits 

2. The Imperial Science I: Gary Becker and Sociology 

3. The Imperial Science II: Richard Posner and Law 

4. Behavioral Economics: History and Areas of Research   

5. Cognitive Theory and Its Implications for Economic Policy 


Block B: Examining Behavioral  Phenomena in Lab and Field Experiments 

6. Reference Dependence and Loss Aversion

7. Other Regarding Preferences: Altruism, Fairness, Reciprocity, Shame 

8. Intrinsic Motivation versus Extrinsic Incentives 

9. Procrastination, Temptation and Self-Control 

10. Collaborative Crime: Tax Evasion and Corruption