Pioneering experimental and behavioural economics Pioneering experimental and behavioural economics

The Behavioural Economics group is a pioneer of experimental and behavioural economics and are ranked 4th in the world in cognitive and behavioural economics. Members of our group developed some of the earliest behavioural theories of choice under risk and uncertainty, and ran some of the UK's first economics experiments. UEA has been a noted leading centre of experimental economics since the 1980s. In most recent rankings of economics departments published at UEA ranked fifth in the world and first in the UK for ‘decision theory/experiments'. 

Current research includes focal points and salience, bargaining, the nature of other-regarding preferences - both social and antisocial, contests and competitiveness, and public goods provision. There is currently strong UK and international interest in policy-making circles to incorporate insights of behavioural and experimental economics into policy design. Our group's strengths in measurement of preferences and valuations, and by extension cost-benefit analysis, have already tailored solutions to major domestic institutions such in the UK Departments for Health, Transport and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 

Interdisciplinarity is one of the keys to our research success. Collaboration with researchers in other Schools is facilitated by the Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) - a cross-disciplinary centre of researchers who develop and test models of human behaviour and deduce implications for the formulation and evaluation of public policy. CBESS research informs policy and business strategies - including "nudging", utility tariff design, product labelling, and indebtedness. 

The group is renowned for agenda-setting contributions in areas such as modelling and measurement of preferences, and fertilises policy formation by its findings on how people perceive complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. These issues interweave dynamically with this group's historical research strengths (e.g. Professor Robert Sugden and colleagues used stated-preference methods to estimate valuations for quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - QALYs being a key component in conducting cost-benefit analyses of new treatment options for diseases).

Through CBESS the Behavioural Economics group is a founding member of the ESRC Network for Integrated Behavioural Science (NIBS) whose Advisory Group includes representatives from users in business, industry, media, and government.

Faculty staff

Sheheryar Banuri is a development economist and lecturer. His research focuses on motivation and decision-making in the public sector. His work is at the intersection of policy, economics, and public administration, and uses a combination of survey methods, lab, and field experiments. Sheheryar has conducted field research in Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the US. His work has provided policy guidance to the governments of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Burkina Faso. His research has been published in leading academic journals including the European Economic Review, Public Choice, Social Choice and Welfare, and the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.

Zoe Bett

Zoe Bett's current research focuses on the behaviour of subjects in coordination games. More specially, she is interested in how language and gender effects decision making in the lab.



Michael Brock's current research interests explore the relationships between behavioural economics and environmental attitudes. More specifically, he is interested in discovering how we can examine the decision-making and preference construction of individuals regarding public, collective and environmental goods. From this, his work seeks to illustrate the ways in which we are able to identify and then direct people’s behavioural choices in a way which should enhance the collective well-being for society and/or the environment.

Francesco Fallucchi is an experimental economist with research interests in contest behaviour. His current works include the investigation of conflicts dynamics when individuals and groups are heterogeneous in various aspects. He has recently been awarded by the UNU-WIDER to study the consequences of discriminatory rules and the impact of affirmative actions in rent-seeking contests.

Enrique Fatás' experimental research focuses in the behavioural determinants of conflict, the interaction between diversity and social networks, the analysis of sanctions and rewards as norm enforcement mechanisms and the role of status in organisations. He has run experimental studies both in the laboratory and in the field in a large number of countries. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the European Union, the Economic and Social Research Council, national governments and private foundations.

David Hugh-Jones is interested in group identity, intergroup emotions, conflict and social norms. He has published his work in top journals in Economics (like Games and Economic Behavior) and Political Science (like the Journal of Conflict Resolution). David is the PI of an ESRC Research Grant on “The norm of honesty: empirical studies on school pupils and the UK population”.

Joo Young Jeon's research interests cover Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Industrial Organization, Competition Policy, and Public Economics. 

Ben McQuillin is interested in game theory, social choice theory, and normative microeconomics. In one line of research he uses non-cooperative models of coalition formation, together with cooperative game solution concepts, to explore expected and rightful outcomes in situations where cooperation induces both surpluses and externalities. These situations range from transnational treaties (such as the hoped for ‘Copenhagen Protocol'), to corporate mergers and political pacts.

Peter Moffatt's principal research area is "Experimetrics", that is, the econometric analysis of data from Economic Experiments. He is particularly interested in ways of allowing for between-subject heterogeneity, and with this objective he has applied mixture models in various contexts, including risky choice experiments, fairness experiments, and public goods games. Recently he has extended the well-known "double hurdle model" to the panel data context, making it useful for dealing with excess zeroes in experimental data.

Subhasish Modak Chowdhury's research focuses on the various applications of microeconomic theory with a special emphasis on contests – in which individuals or groups expend costly resources in order to win some reward. He uses both laboratory and natural experiments to better understand situations and nuances of contests, especially for cases in which field data is not available. Other than contests, he is also interested in analysing individual behaviour in coordination games, income and gender effects in altruist behaviours, and cartel deterrence mechanisms.

Amrish Patel is a game theorist specialising in psychological game theory. His research develops models to identify the strategic implications of belief-dependent preferences such as reciprocity concerns and status-seeking.


Anders Poulsen's general research interests lie within bargaining, distribution, conflict resolution, and coordination of economic activity. These areas are investigated using concepts and tools from game theory, experimental economics and behavioural economics.


Abhijit Ramalingam's research interests include employment contracts, and behavioural and experimental economics. His theoretical work focuses on the impact of social preferences such as concerns for status and work ethic on contracts and outcomes in a firm. His recent experimental work investigates the influence of relative comparisons on the behaviour of individuals. Currently, he is working on experimentally investigating the impact of different network structures on contributions in public goods games. 

Stefania Sitzia's research interests are in experimental methodology and in industrial organisations issues that she explores using experimental methods. 



Robert Sugden uses a combination of theoretical, experimental and philosophical methods to investigate issues in the areas of theoretical and applied welfare economics, social choice, choice under uncertainty, the foundations of decision and game theory, the methodology of economics, and the evolution of social conventions. He is the co-author of Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules, (Princeton University Press, 2009). Currently, his research focuses on the problem of reconciling behavioural and normative economics.

Theodore Turocy's research focuses on modelling how people perceive and behave in strategic situations, including applications in auctions, the provision of public goods, contests, network formation, and sport. He is the lead developer of Gambit, a widely-used software package for the computational analysis in game theory.

Research students