Applied Behavioral Economics and Individual Choice (ABEIC) Concentration

Looking to transform the welfare of consumers? Hoping to increase your firm’s performance? This unique MPS in Applied Economics and Management with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Economics and Individual Choice (ABEIC) is a cross-disciplinary program that gives you the tools to succeed.

About the Concentration

Behavioral economics is a field of behavioral science that incorporates insights from psychology, sociology, or other social sciences to develop win-win solutions for consumers, companies, and governments.

Cornell University has a long history of transforming cutting-edge research into knowledge that can be applied to the pressing issues of industry and policy. This MPS builds on the university’s reputation by training a new generation of business and policy decision-makers with cutting-edge tools. Cornell’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management lies at a unique intersection of expertise in behavioral economics and the role that psychology and economics jointly play in decisions related to food, public health, personal finance, and sustainability.

Past research from this program promoted 100-calorie portions, changed the way superfund sites are regulated, and transformed over 25,000 school lunchrooms across the nation. In this program, students have the opportunity to stylize their curriculum to empower their career and find win-win solutions. Each student must commit to a track within the ABEIC concentration. Each track is focused on developing innovative managers, entrepreneurs, and researchers for related industries, governments, healthcare organizations, and NGOs.


Behavioral Marketing

Consumers often face the choice between indulgent and responsible consumption—virtue and vice. Using subtle cues and common behavioral heuristics can help firms guide consumer choice in the retail marketplace. Such tools can be used to reinforce more healthful or more responsible choices without making the consumer feel goaded, judged, or restricted, all while preserving profits.

Sustainability and Behavior

As we learn more about the long-term environmental impacts of modern lifestyles, consumers and firms find themselves facing a trade-off between current payoffs and a more sustainable future. Using behavioral tools, firms can address the increasingly restrictive regulatory environment while creating added value for their consumers.

Behavioral Finance

Financial markets are susceptible to sharp rises and falls often based on irrational responses to changes in market information. Such trading can often eviscerate returns of not only panicky individuals, but also the well-researched institutional investment firms. Using behavioral economic concepts can help minimize the effects of such irrational trading and fluctuations and help preserve value and return on investment.


Because of the range of tracks, it is believed that students entering the program will come from a wide range of backgrounds: business, environmental studies, psychology, economics, public health, and other social studies.

To begin to provide a common grounding, a pre-matriculation reading package will be sent to incoming students. Part of this will consist of a core set of readings for all students and focused readings for each of the concentrations.

In addition, incoming students will be directed to sample projects of prior students and sample biographies of their experience in the program. In the days prior to the start of the fall semester, an orientation will be conducted for incoming students.

Elective Coursework

A maximum of 7 credits and AEM 6140 – Behavioral and Managerial Decision Making. Courses must be relevant and approved by student’s advisor.

General Core Requirements

  • BTRY 6010 – Statistical Methods I (3cr)
  • AEM 5600 – Managerial Economics (3cr)
  • AEM 4110 – Introduction to Econometrics OR AEM 4410 Marketing Research (3cr)
  • AEM 4120 – Computational Methods for Management and Economics OR CS 1110 Introduction to Computing Using Python (3cr)
  • Problem-solving project (6cr) in which students interact with a business client and
    • Choose a topic with real-world relevance
    • Develop a project plan
    • Design data-collection strategies
    • Apply techniques of statistical, mathematical, or qualitative inference
    • Execute project plan with faculty guidance
    • Present research insights
    • Deliver results to the client

Track Courses

Six credit hours must be completed in the chosen track.

Concentration Requirements

Behavioral Marketing

  • AEM 6140 – Behavioral and Managerial Decision Making
  • AEM 6440 – Consumer Behavior (fall, 3 credits)
  • One of the following:
    • AEM 5550 – Economics of Advertising (spring, 3 credits) OR AEM 4410 – Marketing Research OR AEM 4495 – Consumer Neuroscience OR AEM 4160 – Strategic Pricing

Sustainability and Behavior

  • AEM 6140 – Behavioral and Managerial Decision Making
  • One of the following:
    • AEM 4500/ECON 4810 – Resource Economics
    • AEM 6440 – Consumer Behavior (fall, 3 credits)

Behavioral Finance

  • AEM 6140 – Behavioral and Managerial Decision Making
  • AEM 4230 – Contemporary Topics in Applied Finance (fall, 3 credits)
  • AEM 4570 – Advanced Corporate Finance* (fall, 3 credits)

* With advisor’s proposal, one of the following can be substituted for AEM 4570:

  • AEM 4290 – International Financial Management (fall, 3 credits)
  • AEM 4620 – Advanced Financial Modeling and Analysis (fall, 2 credits)
  • AEM 4670 – Investments in the Global Economy (fall, 3 credits)

Problem-Solving Project

Satisfactory completion of a supervised project in the chosen area (maximum of 6 credits, 3 credits in each of the two semesters).

This project will include the student’s participation in fieldwork examining applied behavioral economic phenomena. A report must be submitted to and approved by the student’s advisor. Additionally, students must present their report at a public seminar.