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Behavioural Economics

Research Priority Area at the University of Amsterdam

The mission of the Research Priority Area Behavioral Economics (RPA-BE) is to foster research that increases our understanding of how behavioural factors impact the decisions of economic agents, including consumers, firms and financial market participants.

RPA-BE enables experimental research on a large scale

The unifying factor in the research of the RPA-BE is the extensive use of the experimental method. This method is costly, however, e.g., due to the need to remunerate human subjects for participation in experiments and the fixed cost of maintaining an experimental lab that meets the international standard. Now that Behavioural Economics is a Research Priority Area, additional resources are available. A major added value of the RPA-BE is that it has enabled the application of the experimental method at a scale that is needed for research of this kind. In short, excellent laboratory research requires a sufficient scale of research activities and interaction and the RPA-BE has made this possible.

Researchers can apply at the RPA-BE for the funds needed to run experiments, so that they can focus on their core business. This has substantially boosted the researchers’ productivity. A committee allocates the resources to promising research proposals. This committee consists of Prof. Theo Offerman, Prof. Erik Plug, Prof. Joep Sonnemans, Prof. Randolph Sloof and  Prof. Jan Tuinstra.

Cooperation with top-level research groups across the world

The Research Priority Area Behavioural Economics (RPA-BE) cooperates with top-level research groups with a similar agenda across the world. The most intensive collaborations in Europe are with groups at the Autonoma University Barcelona, the University of Nottingham, the University of East Anglia and Catholic University of Milan, and in the US with New York University, the University of Arizona, the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Wisconsin. These collaborations have led to joint authorships and an active exchange of PhD Students. In the future we intend to maintain and expand these contacts where possible.

Annual workshops to exchange ideas with international researchers

In addition, the research RPA-BE has funded three workshops, allowing faculty members to interact with the top-researchers in laboratory experiments (ABEE2009), field experiments (ABEE2010), behavioural theory (ABEE2011), behavioral industrial organization (ABEE2012) and neuroeconomics and the lab (ABEE2013). The RPA-BE also attracted top international visitors and made it possible to organize international PhD workshops.

Four core groups joined forces in RPA-BE

The Amsterdam School of Economics of UvA has an excellent status in the field of Behavioral Economics. The UvA research priority area Behavioral Economics merged four core groups. CREED, CeNDEF, the Industrial Organisation group and the Human Capital group joined forces to become the RPA-BE. The first three were the faculty’s three highest ranked groups at the most recent quality assessment by the Quality Assessment Netherlands’ Universities (QANU).