Federal Government appoints academic to behavioural economics team

5 July 2017

Professor Robert Slonim of the University of Sydney's School of Economics has been appointed Research Director of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA).

"This appointment is a great example of the University of Sydney's deep commitment to ensuring that our research expertise is harnessed to help inform policymaking in areas of significant importance for Australia," said Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

BETA was established in 2016 as the Federal Government's central unit for behavioural economics in public policy, with an objective to apply economics and scientific methods to improve policy outcomes.

"I spent the majority of my career focusing on research to improve welfare by testing and improving behavioural economic theories using novel laboratory and field experiments," said Professor Slonim.

"Working with the Commonwealth Government within BETA provides the ideal opportunity to apply academic ideas to improve policy. The ability to connect scholars at the University to work on policy-relevant programs is a unique opportunity," said Professor Slonim.

Professor Slonim recently received Sydney Research Excellence Initiative (SREI) funding for the Behavioural Economics Applied Policy (BEAP) Lab to help connect Australian policymakers with academics to assess the long-term effectiveness of policy interventions.

The BEAP Lab initiatives are examining a wide range of issues including racial discrimination, fraud, intergenerational poverty transmission and adoption policies.

These efforts build on groundbreaking and collaborative behavioural economics research to understand and improve human behaviour, such as Professor Slonim's extensive research on increasing blood donations and encouraging savings among low-income households.