The study of behavioral economics looks into how individuals make decisions based on uncertainty. It primarily focuses on how individuals act in various circumstances when there’s no monetary cost or objective reward associated with them. Simply put, it studies human choice-making in a technical context without considering other factors. An individual who chooses to purchase a better brand of shoes because he feels that the price will be better than buying a cheaper version is using behavioral economics to his advantage.
There are three main approaches to studying behavioral economics. The first, and most technical approach, is to hire professors who already have a Ph.D. in this field to pen academic books and teach classes on the subject. Such a move would require that the college degree holder write a book and teach a class using this methodology. However, this isn’t the most practical way to get a hold of the material needed for a college degree in this area today.
A second method is to hire a professional academic who also has a Ph.D. in the same field as you. You can then use the former’s previous work to teach a course at your school. Of course, if the former doesn’t have a phd in the field you want to get your degree in, you might still have some luck. For instance, an individual who is interested in earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology may choose to enroll in a university that offers a master’s program in behavioral economics. This would give him the opportunity to read up on the subject matter and earn a master’s degree in the process. If he is interested enough, he might even choose to take a graduate course in behavioral economics.
The third, and probably easiest, way is to simply hire a professional who is interested in teaching economics in your field. While such a person wouldn’t necessarily be qualified to serve as your professor, he or she could certainly serve as your adviser. Keep in mind that while such advisers are very important, remember that they are not teachers. Rather, their function is advisory. So it goes without saying that you should find someone who does have a Ph.D. in behavioral economics and is also an expert at using mathematical modeling in making economic arguments.
So now that we have defined what behavioral economics is, let’s look at how you can obtain a Ph.D. in the subject. For a student looking to earn his or her Ph.D., he or she should begin by taking a standard economics exam, typically taken by college students. This type of exam is offered at a variety of colleges and universities throughout the United States. The first step is to contact a specific department at each of the colleges and universities that you’re interested in attending. You can then inquire about taking an exam, which will likely be offered either during the same calendar year as your first class or on a separate, semester-long schedule.
Once you’ve determined which college degree programs offer the exams you want, you’ll also need to find individual faculty members who are interested in becoming involved with your project. It is possible for you to pursue an economic study as part of your doctoral studies, but it’s also possible to get involved with faculty and committee work. In either case, keep in mind that in order to find faculty members who are going to be genuinely interested in teaching you the material you are studying, you will need to spend time on campus visiting classrooms and talking to individual faculty members. Some prospective students choose to spend this time before they apply to the university. Other students, however, find it much easier to approach faculty members right after they decide to pursue a Ph.D. degree.
Behavioral economics is one area where you will find great diversity, as it covers a range of topics from consumer behavior to institutional investment. If you’re researching human capital and the labor market, for instance, you’ll find many economists who are considered behavioral economists, because their research deals with affecting the behavior of people as a result of changes in the economy. If you’re focusing on the family, you’ll find a variety of labor economics experts whose research will vary depending on the area of study. Finding a faculty member or a department head who fits your research goals perfectly is essential to earning your Ph.D. in behavioral economics.