PhD Studentships in Health Economics - Erasmus School of Economics 

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Title of project: "Risk and Rationality: Using Empirical Findings from Prospect Theory to Improve Rational Decisions in Health and Other Fields."

Project Prospect theory, the model for decision under risk introduced by Kahneman & Tversky (1979), is immensely popular among psychologists and in applied economic domains where risk plays a role.

Its importance was recognized through the 2002 Nobel prize in economics, and it is also widely used in medical applications.

Prospect theory assumes that, besides;

  • Rational factors based on utility and additive probabilities that are studied in classical approaches, other factors play a role. Such factors are
  • People's sensitivity towards (lack of) information, modeled through subjective probabilities that can be nonadditive, and
  • Loss aversion -the special sensitivity of people towards losses.

    Remarkably, not many theoretical results have been developed for prospect theory, and empirical tests have been based on ad hoc interpretations of the concepts of the theory so far.

    This project aims to develop theoretical foundations and, thereby, critical empirical tests for these concepts. It applies its findings primarily to the health domain.

    Other fields of application are insurance, finance, experimental game theory, finance, and/or other areas, depending on the candidate's background.

    Requirements

    We search for two candidates. The desired candidates have a Master's degree in a quantitative discipline. Knowledge of mathematics, game theory, statistics, econometric analyses, and/or programming skills are a plus.

    Conditions

    The position will be for a maximum of four years. The gross monthly salary will be approximately € 1,933 in the first year, increasing to € 2,472 in the fourth year.

    There will also be an 8% holiday allowance.

    Please email applications, including a cover letter, and a CV, to Peter P. Wakker, Wakker [at] few.eur.nl as soon as possible.

    In the case of future rounds we will ask to provide recommendations from academic references.

    Information can be obtained from either of the two supervisors, being Professor Peter Wakker (http://www.fee.uva.nl/creed/wakker) and Professor Han Bleichrodt (http://people.few.eur.nl/bleichrodt/).

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