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 ten books, of which the most widely read are Principles of Practical Cost-benefit Analysis (1978, with Alan Williams), Economics of Rights, Co-operation and Welfare (1986 and 2004), Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules (2010, with five co-authors) and The Community of Advantage: A Behavioural Economist's Defence of the Market (2018).

He is the author of over 150 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

Funded projects completed since 1 January 2001

Reconstructing Normative Economics on a Foundation of Mutual Advantage.  European Research Council Horizon 2020 Advanced Grant.  January 2016–June 2021.  

Network for Integrated Behavioural Science (with Chris Starmer [Director] and 18 others at Universities of East Anglia, Nottingham and Warwick).  ESRC award January 2013–September 2017.

Understanding Focal Points in Bargaining Situations (with Anders Poulsen).  ESRCC award, February 2009–July 2010.

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.


Areas of Expertise

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

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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