Experimental economics after the demolition job on theory

By David Hugh-Jones

The front cover of Richard Thaler’s autobiography Misbehaving shows a single bird, looking quizzically at a huge flock of birds who are all flying in the same direction. It’s a metaphor for behavioural economics. The single bird is the lone behaviourist; the flock is the economic theorists who all think the same way. And indeed, the book is a story of conflicts in which standard economic theory and presuppositions turned out to be wrong.

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Meet the lecturers: Peter Dawson

Next up to face our Q&A is Dr Peter Dawson

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and main interests in economics?

Born and raised in Lancashire, I did my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the rival county of Yorkshire. I was the first member of my family to go to university. I suppose I was lucky in a way because most of my cohort who did A-levels went on to university and I basically joined the bandwagon. Prior to joining UEA I worked at universities in Scotland and the South West of England. This is my 17th year as an academic and I still don’t look a day over thirty (see picture, below).

I would describe myself as an applied microeconomist but I am probably best known for my work in the field of sports economics. I do not claim to have celebrity status but I have presented work to Stephen Fry and Delia Smith and my work has been cited by Professor Stephen Hawking.

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Meet the Lecturers: Duncan Watson

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In the next installment of our Q&A series, meet Dr Duncan Watson

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and main interests in economics?

“At Christmas I’d only get a tangerine!” A complete fib, but my working class upbringing did ensure a rebellious streak which would always question the mainstream in economics. My university education, and the required reading material, only tattooed that streak more colourfully. As a Fresher, they demanded that I read two particular books: ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’, which I immensely enjoyed, and Keynes’ ‘General Theory’, which I enjoyed a little less. Microeconomic labour economics became my playground.

The first person in my family to go to university, I’ve seen my mother- the most intelligent person I know- take down the contestants on University Challenge. I’m unsurprisingly fully committed to widening participation. A student’s background is irrelevant, the thirst for knowledge everything.

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Meet the lecturers: Antony Jackson

In our next Q&A, meet Lecturer in Financial Economics Antony Jackson

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and main interests in economics?

I’m a former investment banker, having worked for Barclays in London and Credit Suisse in Tokyo. I always harboured the desire to study for a doctorate, though—fortunately, I received full funding from the University of Leicester in 2009 to study for a PhD in Economics, under the research title “Computational Models of Financial Markets.” My main interests are in portfolio theory and empirical asset pricing. How do investors take advantage of economic forecasts? Can algorithmic trading rules be profitable?

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Meet the lecturers: Fabio Arico

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Can you tell us a little bit about your background and main interests in economics?

I took my BSc in Business and Economics at the University of Pavia, my hometown in Italy. After that I decided to move to the UK, and I studied for my MSc and PhD in Economics at the University of Warwick. My PhD research tackled the relationship between technological change, the distribution of skills in the labour force, and unemployment. Later on, I focussed more on Labour Market issues, so I would class myself more as a labour economist nowadays. My current interests are on the edge between Labour Economics and Higher Education research. I am interested in several issues, such as how we can facilitate access to HE for students coming from disadvantaged background, as well as: student learning, student satisfaction, and student confidence.

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