Friday, October 13, 2017

2017 PhD Conference in Behavioural Science in Dublin

2017 PhD Conference in Behavioural Science 

 Thursday, the 30th of November 2017
UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, Dublin

The UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy is pleased to announce our PhD Student Conference in Behavioural Science for 2017 in collaboration with the Stirling University Management School. This continues two successful annual events held at Stirling. For information about last year's PhD conference click here. The PhD conference will be held at University College Dublin on November 30th and will be followed by the 10th annual Irish economics and psychology conference on December 1st. Attendees to the PhD conference on November 30th are also welcome to attend the December 1 workshop. Please sign up separatedly for the workshop. Our keynote speakers will be Professor Don Ross (UCC) and Professor Jennifer Sheehy Skeffington (LSE). 

Day Schedule (Thursday, November 30, 2017)

09:00-09:15: Registration
09:15-10:00: Welcome & Introductory Talk by Prof Liam Delaney
10:00-10:30: Coffee Break
10:30-11:30: Session 1

Session 1a: The environment  

1. Victoria Taranu on "Experimental study on alternative information framings of the flemish energy performance certificate" (with Griet Verbeeck).

2. Vlada Pleshcheva on "Do consumers value qualitatively identical improvements in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of cars equally?" 

Session 1b: Media use   

3. Veelaiporn Promwichit on "Can social media sentiment predict futures returns?" (with Arman Eshraghi and Ronan Gallagher)

4. Kevin Momanyi on "An econometric analysis of the impact of telecare" (with Paul McNamee and Diane Skatun) 

11:30-12:00: Coffee Break

12:00-13:00: Session 2

Session 2a: Locus of control 

5. Juliane Hennecke on "Controlled by politics? - Economic situation, locus of control and political participation" (with Malte Preuss)

6. Malte Preuss on "Biased by success and failure: How unemployment shapes stated locus of control" (with Juliane Hennecke) 

Session 2b: Decision Making 1 

7. Luis Enrique Loria on "Current experience matters: Evidence from a reference dependent Discrete Choice Experiment design" (with Verity Watson, Takahiko Kiso, and Euan Phimister)

8. Mishal Ahmed on "Quality provision with salient thinkers" 

 13:00-14:00: Lunch Break
  14:00-15:30: Session 3

Session 3a: Mental Health and Work 

9. Klavs Ciprikis on "The impact of mental disorders on wages in the United Kingdom: An empirical analysis"

10. Victoria Mousteri on "Hours-underemployment and psychological health: Evidence from Britain" (with Liam Delaney and Michael Daly)

11. Kate Isherwood on “Looking forwards to work: Motivational and cognitive interventions to promote wellbeing, productivity and economic activity in the workforce.” (with John Parkinson, Gareth Harvey, and Andrew Goodman) 

Session 3b: Decision Making 2 

12. Abu Siddique on "Competitive preferences and ethnicity: Experimental evidence from Bangladesh" (with Michael Vlassopoulos)

13. Féidhlim McGowan on "Representation or reproduction? Lay understanding of probability distributions and willingness to take bets" (with Pete Lunn) 

14. Terry McElvaney on “Complexity in car finance: Assessing limitations in consumer comprehension of personal contract plans (with Pete Lunn and Féidhlim McGowan) 

15:30-16:00: Coffee Break

16:00-17:00: Session 4 

Session 4a: Education  

15. Caroline Wehner on "Personality and educational achievement: The role of emotional stability and conscientiousness" (with Trudie Schils)

16. Emmanuel Igwe on “A study on attitudes into postgraduate education” (with Gabriella Cagliesi and Denise Hawkes) 

Session 4b: Subjective Well-Being 

17. Robert Murphy on "Does informing members of the general population of the impact of aspects of health on patients’ life satisfaction and day affect change their judgements of health?"

18. Rhi Willmot on “The Role of Positive Psychology in Physical Wellbeing” (with John Parkinson) 

For questions, please contact Liam Delaney ( or Leonhard Lades (

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Till Grüne-Yanoff public talk on behavioural economics and policy

Professor Till Grüne-Yanoff will deliver a public lecture to the Irish Behavioural Science and Policy Network on Wednesday 18th October at 6pm. There will be a wide-ranging Q+A session following the talk which will conclude at 7.30pm. The venue is the Royal Irish Academy. He will speak on behavioural economics and public policy, in particular on the role of policy in "boosting" ability to make good decisions under a variety of circumstances. The webpage to register for the event is available here.

Nudging and Boosting: Steering or Empowering Good Decisions

Ralph Hertwig and Till Grüne-Yanoff

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin and Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

In recent years, policy makers worldwide have begun to acknowledge the potential value of insights from psychology and behavioral economics into how people make decisions. These insights can inform the design of nonregulatory and nonmonetary policy interventions—as well as more traditional fiscal and coercive measures. To date, much of the discussion of behaviorally informed approaches has emphasized “nudges,” that is, interventions designed to steer people in a particular direction while preserving their freedom of choice. Yet behavioral science also provides support for a distinct kind of nonfiscal and noncoercive intervention, namely, “boosts.” The objective of boosts is to foster people’s competence to make their own choices—that is, to exercise their own agency. Building on this distinction, we further elaborate on how boosts are conceptually distinct from nudges: The two kinds of interventions differ with respect to (a) their immediate intervention targets, (b) their roots in different research programs, (c) the causal pathways through which they affect behavior, (d) their assumptions about human cognitive architecture, (e) the reversibility of their effects, (f) their programmatic ambitions, and (g) their normative implications. We discuss each of these dimensions, provide an initial taxonomy of boosts, and address some possible misconceptions.


Till Grüne-Yanoff is professor of philosophy at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm.

His research focuses on the philosophy of science and on decision theory. In particular, he investigates the practice of modelling in science and engineering, develops formal models of preference consistency and preference change and discusses the evaluation of evidence in policy decision making. Click here for his Google Scholar page.

Till is editor of the journal Economics & Philosophy. He is also a member of the TINT Finnish Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of Social Science in Helsinki, and a regular guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Human Development.

He lives with his wife and his two children in the beautiful Vasastan neighborhood of Stockholm.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Richard Thaler

Congratulations to Professor Richard Thaler who was announced as the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics yesterday. I will add more to this post over the week.

This blogpost by Tyler Cowen on Marginal Revolution contains many useful links to Thaler's work and why he was awarded the prize.

Students in our undergraduate and postgraduate behavioural economics modules will already have encountered Thaler's work in a number of places, and will come across it more later in the semester as we examine behavioural law and regulation.

Thaler's major collaborator on law, regulation, and public policy, Cass Sunstein, will speak here in Dublin on November 10th - details here.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

New Research Group Members

Delighted to welcome four new members of the research team. We will shortly advertise some more posts.

Welcome to Till Weber who joins us, having just submitted his PhD at Nottingham. Till will work with us for at least the next two years, including lecturing on the new MSc. His webpage is below and he will present an overview of his experimental research at a later session.

Welcome also to Leonhard Lades who joins EnvEcon and Geary for two years from the University of Stirling. Leo will also give some lectures on the MSc. He has published a number of papers on intertemporal choice, consumption, ethical aspects of nudging, and a variety of other topics.

While he has been here a while on another project, I am also glad to formally welcome Michael Daly, also from Stirling, who starts his 2 year Marie Skłodowska Curie fellowship here in the next couple of weeks. Michael is Associate Professor at Stirling and has published extensively in economic psychology, health psychology, behavioural change and cognate areas.

Tadgh Hegarty has also started with us, and will conduct a PhD at the intersection of behavioural economics and machine learning, examining the nature and extent of behavioural biases in gambling decisions.