Behavioral economics studies the effects of psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural and social factors on the decisions of individuals or institutions, such as how those decisions vary from those implied by classical economic theory.[1][2]

The behavioral economics concept on "nudging" people's behavior and actions is often illustrated with this urinal with a housefly image embossed in the enamel; the image "nudges" users into improving their aim, which lowers cleaning costs.

Behavioral economics is primarily concerned with the bounds of rationality of economic agents. Behavioral models typically integrate insights from psychology, neuroscience and microeconomic theory.[3][4] The study of behavioral economics includes how market decisions are made and the mechanisms that drive public opinion.

The concepts used in behavioral economics today can be traced back to 18th-century economists, such as Adam Smith, who deliberated how the economic behavior of individuals could be influenced by their desires.[5]

The status of behavioral economics as a subfield of economics is a fairly recent development; the breakthroughs that laid the foundation for it were published through the last three decades of the 20th century.[6][7] Behavioral economics is still growing as a field, being used increasingly in research and in teaching.[8]