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Personal profile


Robert Sugden is a Professor in the School of Economics.  His research uses a combination of theoretical, experimental and philosophical methods to investigate issues in welfare economics, social choice, choice under uncertainty, the foundations of decision and game theory, the methodology of economics, and the evolution of social conventions.  He is the author or editor of eight books, of which the most widely-read are Principles of Practical Cost-benefit Analysis (1978, with Alan Williams) and Economics of Rights, Co-operation and Welfare (1986 and 2004).

He is the author of over 100 papers in refereed journals including American Economic Review, American Political Science Review, Econometrica, Economic Journal, Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Philosophy, Review of Economic Studies, and Quarterly Journal of Economics.  He is one of the few UK economists included in the ISI Highly Cited list.

PhD Supervision Interests

Bobs' research uses theoretical, experimental and philosophical methods to investigate issues in normative economics, behavioural economics, the foundations of decision and game theory, the methodology of economics, and the evolution of social conventions.


Key Research Interests and Expertise

Funded projects completed since 1 January 2001

Understanding Focal Points in Bargaining Situations, (grant RES-000-22-3322), on which I am Co Investigator and my colleague Anders Poulsen is Principal -Investigator.

Reconciling Normative and Behavioural Economics, Professorial Fellowship awarded by Economic and Social Research Council, January 2006-March 2009.

What is the Value to Society of a QALY?, NHS R&D Research Methodology Programme and National Institute for Clinical Excellence, 2004-2007, (with colleagues at UEA, the Universities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Aberdeen, and the National Centre for Social Research).

Innovation in Decision Support, Programme 3 of ESRC Programme for Environmental Decision Making, 2001-2004 and 2006-2007, (with Ian Bateman, Brett Day and Graham Loomes).

The Role of Experimental Methods in Economics, Leverhulme Trust, September 2002-August 2005 (with Robin Cubitt, Graham Loomes, Peter Moffatt and Chris Starmer).

Leverhulme Personal Research Professorship, Leverhulme Trust, February 1998 - January 2003.

TRANS-TALK, participation in thematic network of European Union Programme ‘Competitive and Sustainable Growth’, January 2000-June 2001.

Working papers

The Representation of Alienable and Inalienable Rights: Games in Transition Function Form (with Ben McQuillin).

Common Fate, Game Harmony and Contributions to Public Goods: Experimental Evidence  (with Luca Corazzini)

Is Happiness a Matter for Governments?  A Millian Perspective on Layard’s “New Science” (with Joshua Chen-Yuan Teng)

A Predator-Prey Model of Cooperation in Anonymous Well-Mixed Populations (with Sergio Beraldo)

The Reasoning-Based Expected Utility Procedure (with Robin Cubitt)

Common Reasoning in Games (with Robin Cubitt).

Market Simulation and the Provision of Public Goods: A Non-paternalistic Response to Anomalies in Environmental Evaluation.

Opportunity as Mutual Advantage.

Spurious Complexity and Common Standards in Markets for Consumer Goods (with Alexia Gaudeul).

Can Economics Be Founded on “Indisputable Facts of Experience”? Lionel Robbins and the pioneers of neoclassical economics.

The Willingness to Pay–Willingness to Accept Gap, the “Endowment Effect”, Subject Misconceptions, and Experimental Procedures for Eliciting Valuations: Comment’ (with Andrea Isoni and Graham Loomes).

Is there a Distinction between Morality and Convention?

Explaining Preference Reversal with Third-generation Prospect Theory (with Ulrich Schmidt and Chris Starmer).

Preference Reversals and Disparities between Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept in Repeated Markets (with Graham Loomes and Chris Starmer).

Ranking Versus Choice in the Elicitation of Preferences (with Ian Bateman, Brett Day, Graham Loomes and Chris Starmer).

The Nature of Salience Revisited: Cognitive Hierarchy Theory versus Team Reasoning.  (with Nicholas Bardsley, Judith Mehta and Chris Starmer).

Fraternity: Why the Market Need not be a Morally Free Zone, (with Luigino Bruni).

Credible Worlds, Capacities and Social Mechanisms.

The Changing Relationship between Theory and Experiment in Economics.

Preference Uncertainty and Status Quo Effects in Consumer Choice, (with Graham Loomes and Shepley Orr).


Cost-benefit analysis; choice under uncertainty and risk; theory of rational choice; experimental economics.


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or