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Education, behaviour and policy

Researchers: Professor Dan Anderberg | Dr Arnaud Chevalier ...

Project overview

This project aims to bring behavioural economics into the study of education by exploring the role of non-standard preferences in the context of secondary and higher education.

Empirical research in behavioural economics has shown that individuals often deviate from the standard decision-making models in systematic ways.

The project has two main parts:

  • Part 1 explores non-standard risk preferences and focuses on participation in post-compulsory schooling and its dependence on students’ attitude towards risk. The insights gained here will guide the development of a theoretical framework that will be used to explore the implications for policy design. This project will be the first to explore the nature of risk preferences in the context of education choices.
  • Part 2 explores non-standard time preferences and focuses on commitment and compliance behaviour. The researchers will look at the degree of ‘present-bias’ among university students, students’ awareness of it, the take-up and effectiveness of a commitment device, and the impact of present-bias and commitment on study outcomes. It will also examine the link between self-control problems and other individual characteristics, such as risk preferences and overconfidence.


  • Professor Dan Anderberg
    Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dr Arnaud Chevalier
    Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Claudia Cerrone
    Royal Holloway, University of London

  • Cheryl Lloyd
    Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.