Sunday, April 19, 2015

Call for papers: Stirling PhD Conference in Behavioural Science (25th of June 2015)

Call for papers: Stirling PhD Conference in Behavioural Science

25th of June 2015

Stirling Behavioural Science Centre (StirBSC)

The Stirling Behavioural Science Centre is pleased to announce its 2015 PhD Student Conference in Behavioural Science. The PhD conference will be held at the University of Stirling on the 25th of June 2015 and will be followed by our Workshop on Behavioural Science and Public Policy on June 26. Attendees to the PhD conference on June 25 are also welcome to attend the June 26 workshop.

The June 25 PhD conference aims to give PhD students in Behavioural Science the opportunity to meet other researchers, to present their work, and get feedback from peers and researchers in the field. The PhD conference will deal with all areas of behavioural science (or behavioural economics, economic psychology, judgement and decision making, depending on your terminological preference). Topics include, but are not limited to

  • Nudging and Behavioural Policies 
  • Evaluation of Behavioural Policies
  • Mechanisms of Behavioural Interventions
  • Inter-temporal Choice
  • Self-control
  • Risk Preferences
  • Social Preferences
  • Heuristics
  • Personality and Economics
  • Subjective Well-Being
  • Identity in Economics
  • Emotions and Decision Making 
  • Behavioural Medicine
  • Early Influences on Later Life Outcomes
  • Behavioural Science and the Labour Market
  • Research Methods in Behavioural Science 
Speakers will have 25 minutes to present followed by 20 minutes of discussion. Speakers have the opportunity to send their papers/slides to their discussant about 2 weeks before the conference in order to get more detailed feedback. Discussants who will be available to give feedback on the 25th are listed below. Further discussants will be added shortly.

Located in the heart of Scotland’s central belt, Stirling is a 45 minute journey from both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. There will be no conference fee and a social dinner will be provided for attendees on the evening of June 25. 

For affordable accommodation in Stirling, we recommend and airbnb. Accommodation may fill up relatively soon due to graduation ceremonies taking place on the same day. In this case it is also feasible to stay in Edinburgh or Glasgow and take a 40 minute train to Stirling in the morning.

Important dates:

  • April 30th: Abstract submission deadline (up to 500 words).
  • May 7th: Notification of acceptance.
  • May 25th: Registration deadline.
  • June 10th: Submission of paper/more detailed abstract to the discussant.

We welcome you to submit an abstract for your paper using the link below. 

We look forward to welcoming you to Stirling. If you have questions, feel free to send an email to

We thankfully appreciate support from the ESRC. 

Other helpful links:

1. Stirling Behavioural Science Centre
2. How to get to Stirling
3. List of recent conferences run by Stirling Behavioural Science Centre
4. The Stirling Court Hotel on campus

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why is psychology relevant for the workplace?

As an MSc student in Stirling, you have the opportunity to take Professor Alex Wood's "Psychology of Work" class in the first term. It explores the importance and role of psychology in the workplace and how practitioners apply psychological theories to issues in the workplace, with the aim of increasing organisational effectiveness and ensuring the satisfaction of people at work.  

One of the assignments I submitted this year tackles the broad sweeping question of "Why is psychology relevant for the workplace?" and it provides a detailed summary of five key areas within the British Psychological Society Curriculum for Occupational Psychology: employee engagement and relations; selection and assessment; training; learning and development; and the design of the work environment. I conclude with a discussion of the role personality plays within the work contexts.

The purpose of this post it twofold: to give MSc applicants an insight into this fascinating topic; and to give seasoned readers a resource that they can use in their research or in the design of course syllabus. 

Click here to download the paper in .pdf. 

To summarise:
  1. Employee relations and engagement, defined as “managing fairly and getting the best out of people” (Gamble, 2006), has been seen through the lens of a master servant relationship, the mechanistic worker relationship and now the individual employee relationship.  
  2. Selection and assessment focuses mainly on the need to have people in positions who either have the characteristics required for effective job performance or the capacities for learning and development.
  3. In order to have organisational success, interactive and relative training programmes need to be developed, as do effective and validated career development and appraisal programmes for employees. 
  4. Careful consideration also needs to be placed into the design of the work environment to ensure that it matches the capabilities of human performance and minimises the risks of work to health and well-being. 
  5. Though any individual behaviour is not very predictable from personality, general behaviour is. It is determined by both the situation and the stable individual differences, and individuals’ can also be identified by the extent to which their personalities vary across situations.

Behavioural Economics Replication Project

I've highlighted the work of the Many Labs Replication Project on the blog before. Since then, Many Labs 2 and 3 have also launched, but the replication efforts have so far remained confined to psychology.

Until now. The Behavioural Economics Replication Project prediction market opens today and will run for 11 days (April 15-26). The studies being replicated are drawn from 16 articles from American Economic Review and 2 from Quarterly Journal of Economics, two of the premier journals in economics. The purpose of the site is to allow people to bet on whether they think the effects in the original articles will be replicated. I could not find details on the website about when the replications will actually be run.

While I am interested in prediction markets like many nerds, I wonder what the added value of it is here. I wouldn't be shocked to see one or two null effects out of 18 but I would be pretty surprised if there are studies in journals like QJE and AER which everyone thinks won't replicate. That's the beauty of prediction markets though, they force everyones cards onto the table.

More details below:

Who will do the replications?
The replications will be conducted by research teams from Caltech, the University of Innsbruck, the Stockholm School of Economics and the National University of Singapore.
What does it mean for a study to replicate?
Of course, prediction market design requires that event outcomes can be clearly said to have either occurred or not. Therefore, we define a result as being replicated if the statistical method used in the original paper yields a p-value <0 .05.="" a="" corresponding="" if="" is="" not="" p-value="" replicated="" result="" the="">0.05.
What are the prediction markets for?
In the prediction markets the traders can give their assessment of whether a result will be replicated or not. For each study, a separate prediction market is run to predict the outcome of the replication. In each market one asset is traded whose payoff depends on whether the result/hypothesis will be replicated or not.
Market Setup
You can trade on the outcome of each of the 18 replication studies in a web-based market interface. This webpage ( provides information on the 18 studies (and the specific hypotheses therein) which are to be replicated.
Your initial endowment is 100 Tokens. You can trade in as many of the 18 markets as you want to. However, any residual Tokens not invested will have no value after markets have closed.
Once you have identified a market (study) that you would like to trade in, click on the corresponding button to access it.
Then you will see two possibilities to trade:
  • Increase position by # Tokens:
    If you believe that the study will be replicated according to the criteria outlined above, you can invest here.
  • Decrease position by # Tokens:
    If you believe that the study will not be replicated according to the criteria outlined above, you can invest here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies

Our new Psychological Science paper is available here - details below

Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies

Michael Daly1,2
Liam Delaney1,2
Mark Egan1
Roy F. Baumeister3,4
1Behavioural Science Centre, University of Stirling
2UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin
3Department of Psychology, Florida State University
4King Abdulaziz University

The capacity for self-control may underlie successful labor-force entry and job retention, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Analyzing unemployment data from two nationally representative British cohorts (N = 16,780), we found that low self-control in childhood was associated with the emergence and persistence of unemployment across four decades. On average, a 1-SD increase in self-control was associated with a reduction in the probability of unemployment of 1.4 percentage points after adjustment for intelligence, social class, and gender. From labor-market entry to middle age, individuals with low self-control experienced 1.6 times as many months of unemployment as those with high self-control. Analysis of monthly unemployment data before and during the 1980s recession showed that individuals with low self-control experienced the greatest increases in unemployment during the recession. Our results underscore the critical role of self-control in shaping life-span trajectories of occupational success and in affecting how macroeconomic conditions affect unemployment levels in the population.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Behavioural Economics at Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Very interesting page outlining recent reports commissioned by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and carried out by the Queensland Behavioural Economics Group
Report 427 Investing in hybrid securities: Explanations based on behavioural economics (REP 427) provides insight into people’s decision making when investing in hybrid securities rather than in bonds and shares. In the experiment QuBE found participants who were subject to an ‘illusion of control’ or ‘overconfidence’ bias relatively increased their hybrid allocation in a mock portfolio. This research complements ASIC’s work on understanding how hybrids are sold to investors and increasing investor education about hybrid risk. The findings are also consistent with earlier research showing a desire for control is a strong driver among SMSF investors when deciding to set up and manage their own super fund. About two-thirds of Australian hybrid investors are SMSF investors.
Report 428 Improving communication with directors of firms in liquidation (REP 428) suggests even small alterations to communication, such as the order of messages in a letter to directors of companies in liquidation, can increase compliance. The report highlights there are likely to be two types of directors who fail to comply: those wishing to comply but who are overwhelmed and those intentionally non-compliant. It identifies opportunities to increase compliance through targeted ‘nudges’ and help for those wishing to comply.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Stata 14 released

From the Stata blog

"Here’s a partial list of what’s new, a.k.a. the highlights:
  • Unicode
  • More than 2 billion observations (Stata/MP)
  • Bayesian analysis
  • IRT (Item Response Theory)
  • Panel-data survival models
  • Treatment effects
    • Treatment effects for survival models
    • Endogenous treatments
    • Probability weights
    • Balance analysis
  • Multilevel mixed-effects survival models
  • Small-sample inference for multilevel models
  • SEM (structural equation modeling)
    • Survival models
    • Satorra-Bentler scaled chi-squared test
    • Survey data
    • Multilevel weights
  • Power and sample size
    • Survival models
    • Contingency (epidemiological) tables
  • Markov-switching regression models
  • Tests for structural breaks in time-series
  • Fractional outcome regression models
  • Hurdle models
  • Censored Poisson regression
  • Survey support & multilevel weights for multilevel models
  • New random-number generators
  • Estimated marginal means and marginal effects
    • Tables for multiple outcomes and levels
    • Integration over unobserved and latent variables
  • ICD-10
  • Stata in Spanish and in Japanese
The above list is not complete; it lists about 30% of what’s new.
For all the details about Stata 14, including purchase and update information, and links to distributors outside of the US, visit
If you are outside of the US, you can order from your authorized Stata distributor. They will supply codes so that you can access and download from

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Links 5th April 2015

1. Lukasz Walasek and Gordon Brown Psych Science article  "Income Inequality and Status Seeking"

2. Postdoctoral fellowship in behavioural economics working at ESRI Dublin. Application forms available at this link

3. Financial Solutions lab interesting initiative.
"The Financial Solutions Lab is a virtual laboratory for anyone who uses technology to improve Americans’ financial health. Lab participants share a relentless focus on building products and services that embrace inclusion, build trust, promote success, and create opportunity. Over the next five years, we will create challenges and rewards for innovative entrepreneurs, companies, and non-profits building solutions for the issue areas we highlight. We will grow an ecosystem of innovators that will catalyze impact on the lives of Americans."
4.  Two research fellowships at University of Stirling - across all areas of University

5. I am speaking at the Sydney Behavioural Economics Network on 15th April. Details here.

6. David Colander & Roland Kupers "Complexity & the Art of Public Policy:Solving Society’s Problems from the Bottom Up". Another from the mightily impressive Princeton University Press behavioural economics catalogue.

7. Call for papers for the first Stirling PhD Behavioural Science conference