I am a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Economics at the University of Essex . I am the director of the Essex Centre for Experimental Social Sciences and of ESSEXLab , the state-of-the-art behavioral laboratory at the Faculty of Social Sciences . In addition, I serve as an Associate Editor at Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization .
I am a behavioral economist. In my research, I use a broad portfolio of research methods–including experiments and advanced microeconometric techniques–to further our understanding of human judgment and decision making. Whereas most empirical research in this area relies on experiments or surveys, I often employ large and rich data sets from carefully selected field settings that can be characterized as natural (or “naturally occurring”) experiments. You can go here for a slightly longer introduction to my work and here for selected summaries of my papers.
PhD in economics, 2014
Erasmus University Rotterdam
MSc in behavioural economics, 2009
University of Nottingham
MSc in sociology and social research, 2008
BSc in sociology, 2006
We examine high-stakes strategic choice using more than 40 years of data from the American TV game show “The Price Is Right”. In every episode, contestants play the “Showcase Showdown”, a sequential game of perfect information for which the optimal strategy can be found through backward induction. We find that contestants systematically deviate from the subgame perfect Nash equilibrium. These departures from optimality are well described by an agent quantal response model with limited foresight, where a sizable proportion of the contestants myopically consider the next stage of the game only. In line with learning, the quality of contestants’ choices improves over the course of our sample period.
Willingness-to-compete experiments typically use small stakes, which raises the question of whether the commonly observed lower competitiveness of women can be generalized to consequential real-world situations. The present paper examines gender differences in willingness to compete using a high-stakes TV game show. At several stages, contestants face a choice between continuing to compete and opting out in exchange for a comparatively modest prize. When strategic considerations are absent, we observe the well-known pattern that women are less likely to compete than men, but this difference derives entirely from women avoiding competition against men. When the decision is strategic and contestants should factor in the competitiveness of others, women again avoid competing against men. Men then seem to anticipate the lower competitiveness of female opponents, as evidenced by their greater tendency to compete against women. Ability differences are unlikely to explain these results. These findings show that the gender difference in willingness to compete also occurs in a setting with exceptionally high stakes, and underline the importance of the gender of competitors, a factor that is mostly ignored in the literature. Our results are particularly relevant for understanding the persistent gender gap at the male-dominated higher rungs of the career ladder.
Currently, I have no teaching duties at the University of Essex.
At the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, I teach at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels.
At the bachelor level, I currently lecture in the course Behavioral Finance and Real Estate (BSc, 3rd year). This course provides a behavioral perspective on real estate decision-making and markets. Students learn how behavioral biases affect participants’ decisions in real estate markets and how the bounded rationality of market participants can explain real estate market dynamics. In the course, I provide students with a psychological perspective on negotiations, property valuations, and mortgage choices.
At the master level, I provide lectures in behavioral ethics and negotiation in the course Behavioral Finance. At the executive education level, I lecture on behavioral ethics in the program Compliance and Integrity Management.
Previously, I also supervised MSc theses on topics related to behavioral finance and provided tutorials in Finance (BSc, 2nd year). In this latter course, we build the foundation for the study of corporate finance and investments. The focus is on financial decision-making in theory and practice. Our coverage of core finance topics includes: i) capital budgeting, ii) asset pricing, and iii) financial investment.
During my Ph.D. at Erasmus University Rotterdam, I designed and taught tutorials in behavioral economics and supervised both BSc and MSC thesis in topics related to behavioral economics and behavioral finance.