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  3. Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Behavioural and Health Economics (1,0 fte)

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Behavioural and Health Economics (1,0 fte)

Job description The successful candidate will be expected to do some, or all, of the following duties: Develop hypotheses from new or existing (behavioural) …

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Burgemeester Oudlaan, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur


Job description
The successful candidate will be expected to do some, or all, of the following duties:

  • Develop hypotheses from new or existing (behavioural) economics theories, applied to health behaviour;
  • Design experiments to test the hypotheses derived from the theory;
  • Manage and monitor the implementation of field experiments in low-income settings;
  • Lead on the write-up of research for working papers, journal articles and policy briefings;
  • Disseminate the results at seminars, conferences, including public engagement and outreach activities;
  • Develop research proposals for independent or collaborative research projects;
  • Help in designing, and teach in, the new Major Behavioural & Health Economics.

The candidate will benefit from the expertise of economists specialized in behavioural and health economics, and from the infrastructure of existing research networks at Erasmus University, such as the Rotterdam Global Health Initiative (Eddy van Doorslaer; Owen O’Donnell), and the Erasmus Initiative “Smarter Choices for Better Health” (Aurélien Baillon; Han Bleichrodt; Hans van Kippersluis; Johan Mackenbach; Kirsten Rohde).


A PhD in a quantitative subject is required, ideally in behavioural or health economics. The ability to write up research work for publication in high profile journals (reflected either by papers published or promising unpublished research papers) is essential. The ideal candidate has a strong background in (behavioural) economic theory, and experience with designing and implementing experiments. Affinity with global health is a plus.


The appointment will be to the position of postdoctoral research fellow for a period of 4 years. The preferred starting date is September 1, 2018. Remuneration will be in accordance with scale 11 set by the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU). Fulltime work (38 hours per week) will pay € 3.475 per month gross in the first year. In addition, there is an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and an 8% annual leave pay.

Additional information

Research topic
The Fellow will undertake field experiment-based research on the health behaviour of low income populations that is being sponsored by ESE through an initiative to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Preventing unhealthy behaviours can potentially relieve demands on resource-poor health systems straining under the double burden of infectious disease and escalating non-communicable disease (NCD). Encouraging adherence to medication is critical to curing illnesses such as TB and managing NCD. Encouraging healthy behaviour is, however, notoriously difficult. To succeed, interventions must correct behavioural biases, such as hyperbolic discounting, narrow bandwidth, unrealistic optimism and nonlinear probability weighting.

The Fellow will collaborate in using theoretical models of prevention and adherence – suitably adapted to incorporate behavioural biases – to generate hypotheses about health behaviours and then testing these using (lab-in-the-) field experiments in low-income settings.

For more information about this position, you may contact Owen O’Donnell (odonnell@ese.eur.nl).


The expertise of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is concentrated in the fields of Business Administration, Economics, Medicine and Health Sciences, Law, Social Sciences, History, Culture and Communication, and Philosophy. In addition to the initial degree programmes and scientific research, the University offers specific postgraduate study programmes and courses. Erasmus University has around 25,000 students and some 2,700 staff members.

Economics at Erasmus

ESE is one of the largest economics schools in Europe. ESE strives to maintain the strong tradition of Dutch universities in Economics and Econometrics. In the most recent QS World University Rankings, ESE is rated 12th in Europe and 44th in the World. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Erasmus is rated 6th in Europe and 24th in the world.

The two ESE groups Behavioural Economics and Health Economics have established leading positions in their respective

fields, not only in Europe but worldwide. This is demonstrated by their high publication and citation rankings, as well as by their acquisition of research funds. The two groups are complementary with respect to both focus (fundamental versus applied) and empirical approach (experimental versus observational).

The Behavioural Economics group specializes in decision making under uncertainty and over time. The Health Economics group in health inequality and health behaviour. Both groups have made important methodological contributions in their respective fields. Examples include the source method to analyse ambiguity and measures of socioeconomic-related health inequality.

The proposed research will further advance these fields, with special attention to the interplay between the two fields. It offers an opportunity for path breaking contributions given the poor fit of the standard economic model to the complex decisions concerning health and medical care faced by individuals in low-income settings. It will foster advancement of theory, development of methodologies to test theories, and design, implementation and analysis of field experiments.