Within focal area Behavioural Economics, focus is on fostering research that increases our understanding of how behavioural factors impact decisions of economic agents. These include consumers, firms and financial market participants.
The behavioural approach to economics emerged in the 1960s, partly as a response to neoclassical theory with its paradigm of rational behaviour and rational expectations. Stimulated by laboratory experiments in which individual behaviour can be carefully monitored in a controlled environment, economists started taking insights from other social sciences (such as psychology and sociology) seriously.
At the same time, evolutionary foundations for economic behaviour were sought in collaboration with biologists. This new interdisciplinary approach was quickly labeled 'Behavioural Economics'.
Since its emergence the area of Behavioural Economics has continuously grown in importance. All major academic journals in economics now regularly publish papers in this field. Examples of the questions asked by researchers in this area are:
We contribute to a conducive research environment for doing behavioural economic research. The unifying factor in our research is the extensive use of the experimental method. With this method, our researchers have made contributions to a wide variety of topics in economics. Highlights include:
A new behavioural theory of heterogeneous expectations for macro and financial markets has been developed and fitted to individual micro as well as aggregate macro experimental data.
Within the area of Behavioural Economics we collaborate with top-level research groups with a similar agenda across the world. Examples are the University of Nottingham, the Catholic University of Milan, and New York University. These collaborations have led to joint authorships and an active exchange of PhD Students.
We also collaborate with societal organisations, like the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Dutch government,. We intend to continue such joint research efforts to spread our findings on how important understanding behaviour is for the development of mechanisms. This knowledge helps the design of auctions, markets, or bonus-arrangements for firm managements, for example.
Our research staff of focal area Behavioural Economics consists of both full professors and associate / assistant professors.