Consumer and household behaviour cannot be explained by economic theory alone, because this is based on the assumption that consumers make rational choices. Incorporating insights from psychology can help, suggested behavioural economist Professor Gerrit Antonides in his inaugural speech last week.
Antonides is the new chair of Economics of Consumers and Households, and wants to examine the exact influence of context on choices made. Behavioural economics, a combination of economics and psychology, has traditionally focused on individuals. Now Antonides intends to apply this discipline to the household level, for example on the fairness of expenditures within a family. Partners are more likely to agree to a purchase if the other pays for it out of overtime pay rather than from the joint household budget. | Joris Tielens