Cluster members
Cluster director

The BID cluster brings together a multidisciplinary team of internationally renowned researchers that address key open questions in the social sciences with the aim to better understand markets, choice and behaviour and how this impact society.

Behaviour, Identity and Decisions

The research cluster "Behaviour, Identity and Decisions" comprises six linked research themes, which all address key open questions of interest to behavioural and social scientists.

Our research is grounded in theory using both quantitative as well as qualitative tools. We value and draw on a range of expertise across various disciplines, including: accounting, anthropology, economics, computer science, finance, management, neuroscience, organisational behaviour, social psychology, and sociology.


Beliefs and Perceptions

We investigate how incentives influence behaviour and how uncertainty and ambiguity are perceived and hence should be communicated.

We study how different information scenarios affect choices and how people learn in a world where human decision makers are inherently boundedly rational.

Pro/Anti-Social Behaviour

We investigate how social norms develop and are shaped by cultural, social and environmental context.

We are working on foundations of trust and reciprocity, charitable giving, and other-regarding behaviour (including pro-and antisocial behaviour).


We study gender differences in behaviour, how they are constructed and develop with age while putting them in current as well as historical context.

Addressing issues of leadership, diversity, pay gaps and other forms of discrimination.

Identity and Emotions

This strand explores two important intersections between economics/business and psychology.

On the one hand, we look at the social context surrounding individuals to understand how group affiliation and social identity affect choices.

On the other hand, we study how affective states, emotions and happiness affect people’s decision-making.


We are interested in developing measures of well-being for individuals as well as societies and mechanisms to develop, engage and invest in the well-being agenda.

We are exploring the impact of mindfulness on areas such as resilience, uncertainty and identity. We are working on behavioural nudges to overcome childhood obesity, increase physical activity and overcome addictions.

In addition, we are seeking to understand needs and improve environments to promote quality of life and well-being for users, particularly for those with health constraints.

Strategic Interaction/Institutions

We study strategic behaviour when a number of agents interact and analyse the effects of changing the structure/mechanism of how such interactions take place.

This includes the study of auctions, product differentiation, the design of contracts and the role of institutions and reputation.

Cluster events

19 September 2016, 2pm

Matrix Lecture Theatre, Building:One

BID invited seminar talk - Loukas Balafoutas (University of Innsbruck)

"Does altruistic punishment 'fit the crime' in the field?"

The degree of human cooperation among strangers is a major evolutionary puzzle. A prominent explanation is that cooperation is maintained because many individuals have a predisposition to punish those violating group-beneficial norms. A critical condition for cooperation to evolve in evolutionary models is that punishment increases with the severity of the violation. Here we present evidence from a field experiment with real-life interactions that, unlike in lab experiments, altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of the violation, regardless of whether it is direct (confronting a violator) or indirect (withholding help).

We also document growing concerns for counter-punishment as the severity of the violation increases, indicating that the marginal cost of direct punishment increases with the severity of violations. The evidence suggests that altruistic punishment may not provide appropriate incentives to deter large violations. Our findings thus offer a rationale for the emergence of formal institutions for promoting large-scale cooperation among strangers.

23 September 2016, 11:30am

Matrix Lecture Theatre, Building:One

BID eminent researchers seminar - Max Bazermann (Harvard Business School)

“Bounded Ethicality: Improving Ethics from a Behavioral Decision Research Perspective”

Past cluster events

4 July 2016

Ken Binmore (UCL)

"Are people really ambiguity averse in the Ellsberg paradox?"

While a lot of our research is initiated through academic discourse, our interdisciplinary research team works also with users in the public and private sectors to identify problems and come up with solutions that will inform interventions for critical current issues and lead to improvements in the delivery of public and private services.