Jo Laban

Discipline: Economics

Project Summary

I investigate how culture affects decision making under risk and uncertainty through three main strands - social networks, cultural norms and identity, and peer effects.

Social networks affect the ability to share risk and have different patterns between collectivist and individualist cultures. I investigate whether students from collectivist cultures form larger networks at university than students from individualist cultures and to what extent these networks are relied on for risk sharing.

I then move on to look at interactive decision making to see whether sharing a cultural identity with other players will improve coordination. The premise is that people from the same culture will share similar social norms and find it easier to predict each other's behaviour, thus improving coordination. On the other hand, when faced with an opponent from a different culture people are less familiar with each other's norms and may rely more on stereotypes to predict behaviour.

Finally, I am interested in peer effects, and whether people from cultures that value conformity are influenced more by their peers than people from cultures that value individuality.

Supervisory Team

Professors David Kelsey and Miguel Fonseca