Project code



Economics and Finance

Start dates

February and October

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project, to commence in October or February.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Business and Law and will be supervised by Dr Wolfgang Luhan, Dr Zahra Murad and Dr Federica Alberti.

The Faculty of Business and Law offers funding to attend conferences (currently £550), training (currently £450), and a work-based placement (currently a maximum of £3,000 tied up to the period of 12 weeks).

The work on this project will involve:

  • research design and project management
  • theoretical modelling
  • experimental design and implementation
  • quantitative data analysis – econometrics and non-parametric inference tests

We are an active group of behavioral economists offering various projects for, or as basis of, Ph.D. thesis. Our research extends the standard economic models by looking at how psychological, emotional and social factors affect economic decision-making.

We are currently looking for Ph.D. candidates to work on the following topics:

1. Negotiations and Climate Change

The international community has set a target of keeping global warming below 1.5 C. The EU has outlined a vision of reducing global emissions by at least 60% below 2010 by 2050. Objectives and visions are of little use without a clear way forward and the progress made has been disappointing. So far, a global, enforcement agreement has proven elusive. (For example, the Paris Agreement falls short of requirements as proven by the US walking away from the agreement.) The project will focus provide insight into why a climate change agreement is difficult to achieve using game theory and behavioural economics. This, in turn, may provide insight into how to overcome such difficulties.

2. Can Behavioral Economics help to tackle Climate Change?

How to accommodate human behaviour to help prevent climate change? Adequate answers require a deep understanding of human-decision making in a wide range of domains including energy use, consumption of goods, and mobility choices. The project will focus on behavioural and environmental economics to explore environmental consumer and firm behaviours related to climate change.

3. The effect of biases on economic decision-making

Psychological literature has identified numerous biases that determine economic decisions. In most situations, people do not behave in the rational manner economic theories would predict. Prominent examples include the status-quo bias, overconfidence, bandwagon effect, confirmation bias, in-group/out-group bias and framing. The project will look at how cognitive bias(es) affect certain economic decisions and how de-biasing techniques may work to arrive at optimal decisions.

4. Decision-Making for others

A recent strand of literature considers decision making for others focusing 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 every day decision-making environments (parents, brokers, managers, policy makers). This project aims to systematically identify and analyse economic situations in which existing theoretical models as well as related empirical results predict differences in behavior between decisions taken for oneself and for others.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only – eligibility criteria apply).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry Requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognized university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in economics or a related relevant area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students with a background in behavioural sciences (e.g. economics, psychology and other relevant disciplines). A familiarity with behavioural theory, game theory, econometrics and experimental methods is desirable, familiarity with at least one of these is essential. We encourage prospective students to design their own research strategies depending on their interest and core skills.

We encourage you to contact Dr Wolfgang Luhan ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Economics PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: ECFN4601020