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Behavioural Economics

Organisational unit: Research Group

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The Behavioural Economics group is a pioneer of experimental and behavioural economics.  UEA has been a leading centre of experimental economics since the 1980s, conducting some of the earliest economics experiments in the UK. Members of our group developed some of the earliest behavioural theories of choice under risk and uncertainty and made signal contributions to the problem of how to meaningfully measure how people value quality of life, the environment, and other goods and services which are not priced by market trading.

Our group continues to develop rigourous foundations for behavioural economics and the role of experimentation in understanding how people make decisions.  Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules, a critical discussion of the role of experiments in economics, was written by members of our group. Prof Peter Moffatt’s book, Experimetrics, is the definitive reference and text for using statistical methods to analyse data from economics experiments.  Prof Robert Sugden’s recent book, The Community of Advantage, continues his long programme of reconciling normative economics with behavioural economics.  This programme of work attracted a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for Prof Sugden.

Our group hosts a prominent annual workshop and summer school on behavioural game theory, with themes ranging from psychological game theory to information disclosure which highlight some of our areas of current research interest. We also co-host Contests: Theory and Evidence, the pre-eminent international conference on contests and competitive behaviour.

We are applying our expertise to develop the “science of the behavioural consumer” as part of the ESRC Network for Integrated Behavioural Science.  Along with UEA’s Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science and Centre for Competition Policy and collaborators at the Universities of Nottingham and Warwick, we are breaking new ground in understanding how, when and why consumers do or do not engage in searching in markets.  We are developing new models of the implications of consumer reactions to time-limited offers, common pricing standards, choice overload and perceptions of fairness for the behaviour of firms, and novel implications for industry regulation with the behavioural consumer at its heart.

We work directly with users of behavioural economics research, including projects in which economics complements other disciplines. Prof Theodore Turocy is the lead academic on a new Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Anglian Water to embed principles of behavioural economic decision-making and behaviour change into intervention design across the firm.  Dr Sheheryar Banuri has been working with governmental and international development agencies on measuring, detecting, and mitigating behavioural biases in professionals.

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