Professor Adam Oliver

Professor Adam Oliver

Professor of Behavioural Public Policy

Department of Social Policy

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Key Expertise
Behavioural economics, Behavioural public policy

About me

Adam Oliver is a pioneer in the field of behavioural public policy. An economist by training, his PhD empirically challenged the axioms of rational choice theory over health outcomes, and was supervised by Professors Graham Loomes and Michael Jones-Lee. Early in his career he conducted studies on a wide range of behavioural economic phenomena and concepts, including prospect theory, rank-dependent utility theory, the Allais and Ellsberg paradoxes, time preferences, the gestalt characteristics, preference reversals, and others.

In more recent years, he has helped to develop a whole new field of public policy – behavioural public policy – that focusses on how the findings of behavioural economics specifically, and behavioural science more broadly, can be linked to public policy concerns. As a contribution towards this effort, Oliver wrote a trilogy of books on the origins, development and future of the field: The Origins of Behavioural Public Policy (2017), Reciprocity and the Art of Behavioural Public Policy (2019), and A Political Economy of Behavioural Public Policy (2023), all published by Cambridge University Press.   

Oliver, together with George Akerlof and Cass Sunstein, is the Founding Editor of the journal, Behavioural Public Policy, Founder of the Annual International Behavioural Public Policy Conference, and Founding Chair of the International Behavioural Public Policy Association. He is the world’s first Professor of Behavioural Public Policy.

Oliver is open to supervising PhD students in the areas of behavioural economics, behavioural science, public policy, political theory and the history of economic thought.





Expertise Details

Behavioural economics; Behavioural public policy