Funded PhD opportunities

Economic Decision Making for Others

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK/International)
  • Department: Economics and Finance
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr. Wolfgang Luhan, Dr. Federica Alberti and Dr. Sascha C. Füllbrunn (Radboud University)

Project code: ACEF3870218

Project description

This research project will analyse economic decision making on behalf of others in when the decisions taken, or its consequences for the others, do not directly affect the decision maker.

While standard economic decision models assume that the decision maker is perfectly egoistic and does not regard the effects of his behaviour on other people, other regarding preferences in the form of interrelated utility functions are now commonly accepted (e.g, Fehr and Schmidt, 2000; Bolton and Ockenfels, 2001).The focus in these models, however, lies on the allocation of resources between the decision maker and the other people, i.e. a consideration of ‘fairness’. A more recent strand of literature considers decision making for others, independent of the allocation of resources, but focussing on the question whether people would make similar or different decisions for others as for themselves. This form of decision making for others is not incorporated in standard economics models but is well included in everyday decision making environments (parents, brokers, managers, policy makers). In the economic literature the differences of decisions for oneself and for others have been picked up only very recently, mostly using a controlled laboratory experiments, merging models from psychology and social science models with choice models.

 The aim of this project is to systematically identify and analyse economic situations in which existing theoretical models as well as related empirical results predict differences in behaviour between decisions taken for oneself an for others. The starting point will be decision making under uncertainty as this is the area having been being studied most thoroughly so far. Further applications for the dissertation projects will be defined by the PhD student in accordance with the supervisors. We will develop a theoretical framework for the decision context described above, identifying possible motivational factors and expected behavioural patterns. In the following experiments we are going to test the emerging hypothesis for each decision situation, discriminate behavioural types and identify the models with the highest predictive power.

The main theoretical background will stem from behavioural economics and finance including related developments in (social-) psychology. The main method for data collection will be experiments, depending on the respective situation either in the laboratory or in the field. The data analysis will incorporate both parametric and non-parametric statistics.

Supervisor Profiles

Wolfgang J. Luhan, Senior Lecturer

Federica Alberti, Senior Lecturer

Dr. Sascha C. Füllbrunn, Associate Professor of Finance, Department of Economics, Radboud University

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Candidate specific requirements

  • Ideally applicants will have a background in behavioural economics and experimental research as well as a proficiency in econometrics.


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr. Wolfgang Luhan at Dr Federica Alberti at

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

When applying, please quote project code: ACEF3870218.

Interview date: TBC.

Start date: October 2018.

Applications should include

  • a full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application

  • contact details for two referees able to comment on your academic performance

  • a research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

  • proof of English language proficiency (for EU and international students)

All the above must be submitted by the 11th of February 2018. 

Funding notes

UK/EU students -  The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

International students - International students applying for this project are eligible to be considered for the Portsmouth Global PhD scholarships.

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