School of Economics

Behavioural Institutions

Professor Ed Hopkins has been awarded the Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship to conduct research on behavioural theory.

The project

The project, titled “Behavioural Institutions”, consists of three linked projects that develop new theories of how institutions and societies can fail to reach their potential. The first re-examines a social dilemma arising from relative comparisons that leads to a suboptimal outcome for all, but which could be fixed by appropriate policy. The second proposes a new behavioural theory of populism that explains how, given boundedly rational voters, such policies might not be implemented. The third develops a new behavioural theory of institutional persistence, that will explain how suboptimal outcomes can be self-perpetuating.

The project begins on 1st September 2021 and will run for 3 years. 

Ed Hopkins is a professor at the School of Economics, and works in game theory with four particular interests. The first is applying game theory to social issues, with a particular focus on tournament models and their relation to inequality. The second is behavioural game theory, considering games between players with non-standard preferences and/or bounded rationality. The third is where he started off, evolutionary game theory, which looks at how play out of equilibrium changes over time. The fourth is experimental economics, where he is interested in testing any or all of the above in the lab.

Major Research Fellowships

The Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship is designed for well-established, distinguished researchers in the humanities and social sciences to complete a piece of original research.

Further information 

For more information about this project, or if you are a member of research staff at the School of Economics and are interested in applying for a Major Research Fellowship, please contact  

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