Cahal is a behavioural economist who is interested in understanding the impact that behavioural heuristics and biases have on our decisions in the real world. In practice, this means looking at household datasets to try and tease out the various nuances and asymmetries created by the quirks of our behaviour. Cahal is especially interested in the economic effects of these behavioural quirks, such as their consequences for earnings and savings. For example, Cahal's PhD thesis measured the causes and consequences of reference points for household behaviour with the aim of contributing to the field literature on prospect theory. One of Cahal's papers looks at asymmetries in savings behaviour and whether or not these can be attributed to loss aversion.
Since his PhD, Cahal has expanded his research to look at the impact of different biases on the behaviour of different groups, such as the impact of optimism bias on policymakers. One of Cahal's papers shows that the UK Government's much-vaunted High-Speed Rail 2 policy likely resulted from overly optimistic cost-benefit analysis. Furthermore, he is currently working on a project which investigates the impact of choice overload on charitable giving among committed philanthropists, and preliminary results suggest that more choice actually encourages donations, which is contrary to choice overload.
Cahal is also a passionate advocate of economic pluralism and has long been a member of the student-led campaign Rethinking Economics. Cahal's book The Econocracy summarises our argument for pluralism and the importance of economic ideas in contemporary society. Cahal is currently planning to write a new book exploring important contemporary issues in economics, such as inequality and the cost-of-living crisis, from a pluralist perspective.