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Information on Graduate Degree Programs in Behavioral Economics

Majors Overview November 9, 2015

This article talks about graduate degree programs in behavioral economics and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.

Information on Behavioral Economics Programs

The interdisciplinary field of behavioral economics concerns itself with the way financial decisions made by groups and individuals are dissimilar from their predicted outcomes. Few schools, if any, offer degree programs specifically in behavioral economics; however, relevant coursework is available through many master’s degree and doctorate programs in economics. For example, behavioral economics coursework is included in a master’s degree program in economics and students are allowed to apply the lessons learned in the program to real-life financial problems. Their knowledge is also used by students to manage actual portfolios. Students enrolled in a doctoral program in economics may be able to choose from various areas of specialization, such as behavioral economics. Program coursework may incorporate topic areas such as applied behavioral economics and economics research methodology.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Programs in Economics

The theories that govern financial activities across the world are subjects in the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in Economics. Students learn about macroeconomic factors that influence relatively large groups, and microeconomic factors that affect smaller populations. Coursework on statistical and mathematical methods of measuring economic events are also in most programs. Courses in behavioral economics are available in a few MA programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require prior completion by incoming students of extensive undergraduate economic coursework. Students should build strong analytical and mathematics skills. In some schools, admission criteria require the submission by applicants of a personal statement and letters of recommendation.

Coursework

The emphasis of program coursework is on the application of theoretical information to financial situations. Experimental economics is often covered, including research on the influence of particular economic variables on economic activity. Core coursework may commonly cover topic areas such as:

•Microeconomics
•Economic statistics
•Theories of behavioral economics
•Econometrics
•Macroeconomics

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek careers – often involving applied or theoretical or economics – in the private and public sectors. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Behavioral economics research assistant
•Economic consultant
•Economic policy research assistant

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 14% has been predicted for economists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, economists brought in an average annual wage of $91,860.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs in Economics

Students enrolled in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Economics programs are often allowed to choose a specialization in a particular facet of the discipline; a specialization in behavioral economics is available through a few schools. The practical implications and theoretical basis of economic ideas are in most Economics Ph.D. programs. Students in any specialty usually learn about the statistical analyses and research methodology employed in the field.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require the prior completion by applicants of extensive coursework in the subject, particularly in micro- and macroeconomic theory. Familiarity with basic statistical methods is also an expectation, in addition to strong communication and analytical skills.

Coursework

In-depth theoretical training is typically available through the program coursework. Students learn how to grasp and predict world economic events. They also learn about the influence of psychology, socialization, and other factors on financial decision-making. Core coursework may commonly cover topic areas such as:

•Economics research methodology
•Experimental behavioral economics
•Public economic policy and behavioral economics
•Behavioral decision research
•Behavioral microeconomics
•Applied behavioral economics

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek advanced positions in teaching, research, and consulting, with private companies and the government. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Behavioral economics consultant
•Economics Professor
•Behavioral economics researcher

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 19% has been predicted for postsecondary teachers (BLS). In 2012, postsecondary economics teachers brought in an average annual wage of $87,950 (BLS).

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In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
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