Module code: ECOD019

Module Overview

The module reviews recent developments in Microeconomics, with an emphasis on Consumer Choice Theory and Welfare measurement and a focus on extensions to standard neoclassical theory (Behavioural economics).

Module provider


Module Leader

BLOW Laura (Economics)

Number of Credits: 0

ECTS Credits: 0

Framework: FHEQ Level 8

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 11

Independent Learning Hours: 62

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 33

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Rational choice theory.

    • Preference relations

    • Utility representation

    • Choice rules

  • The consumer choice model.

    • Revealed preference theory.

    • Afriat’s Theorem (linear programming)

    • Testing maximising behaviour

  • Empirical revealed preference

    • power / predictive success

    • goodness of fit

    • nonparametric estimation

  • Non-linear budget sets.

  • Choice under uncertainty

    • expected utility, subjective expected utility

    • common behavioural violations of expected utility model.

  • Behavioural models

    • Prospect theory

      • Reference dependence (and Kosegi & Rabin personal equilibrium)

      • Probability weighting. Also rank dependent utility, cumulative prospect theory.

    • Hyperbolic Discounting

  • Models of household decision making

    • Cooperative/non-cooperative bargaining, general “collective household” model.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate current literature and to show their understanding of the ideas and techniques covered in the module.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module may consist of a mixture of

  • verbal or written presentation/critical evaluation of a research paper of the student's choice;

  • formal or informal reports; or

  • applying the techniques we have covered to short questions.

Students may choose to present or write on how the topics we cover are relevant to their own research agenda. In this event, extracts from the coursework may eventually be used in the students’ PhD dissertation and this will not constitute self-plagiarism.


Formative assessment

The course is designed to encourage discussion and has a workshop type approach, so that students will be assessed formatively through interactive teaching and learning methods and in office hours if they wish to continue the discussion outside of the lecture hours.



Students will receive feedback on their coursework as soon as possible after submission. Informal feedback will also be provided via questions raised during classes and the discussions that then arise.


Module aims

  • Provide an overview of frontier topics of different models of consumer choice (static, dynamic, under uncertainty)
  • Provide an overview of some basic tools for conducting research in (applied) microeconometric choice theory with a focus on testing different behavioural models
  • Facilitate a critical evaluation of recent papers in the relevant literature.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand key models of consumer behaviour and the history of their development. KT
002 Understand important questions in current applied consumer theory and the methods used to test or estimate these models. KCPT
003 Independently analyse research papers in the relevant area. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Give a broad but still focused overview of frontier topics in applied consumer theory and why they are important/interesting.

  • Encourage an understanding of the historical path to current state-of-the-art research questions as a guide to how research develops.

  • Enhance students’ skills in presenting their findings in verbal and written format (through discussions in lectures as well as the assignment).

  • For students interested in this area of research, this course should also give many of the tools necessary to start an independent piece of research.


The learning and teaching methods include:

11 lectures combining presentations by the lecturer and discussion among the lecturer and students. Discussions will be a mixture of an assessment of papers assigned for reading prior to the lecture, and informal discussion designed to encourage students to comment and interact more spontaneously.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ECOD019

Other information

In line with the pillars of Surrey’s Curriculum framework, this module helps PhD students develop key skills and capabilities in the following areas.


Employability: We cover current research in area of microeconomics relating to consumer decision making, both theoretically and in terms of applied techniques.  Students develop skills that will increase their employability in sectors such as Government policy analysis unit or independent policy research institutions.  Learning to analyse and discuss academic papers is also a key skill should students wish to remain in the academic sector, as well as showing them what top quality research looks like when thinking about the structure of their own research papers.


Digital capabilities: a great deal of the work in the areas we look at involve high-level estimation and programming techniques.


Resourcefulness and resilience: the material is demanding and challenging since we look at topics and methods appropriate to an advanced level of economic research. Students are asked to read and analyse papers independently and be prepared to discuss their thoughts with their cohort. They study topics they may not have seen in much detail before and must quickly be able to provide a critical analysis of a new paper.


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.