07 Feb 22 | News

Launch of a new seminar series on ‘Experiments, Ethics and Economics’ (3E)

PhD students will be trained in the use and development of experimental methods to examine societal challenges at the intersection of ethics and economics

The ‘3E’ Doctoral Training Unit (DTU), an inter-disciplinary collaboration between LISER and the University of Luxembourg, has launched a new seminar series on the topic of Experiments, Ethics and Economics (3E). Held every 4th Wednesday of the month, the seminars will gather PhD students as well as senior researchers to discuss innovative investigations of interactions between economic decision making and ethics.  The Seminars will highlight new research that will include aspects of decision-making both within the household and in the workplace, and will explore the tension that often exists in these contexts between individual utility maximization and moral or ethical choices.

The 3E DTU seminars are organised by a consortium of five prominent research units in Luxembourg that will foster cross-institutional collaborations and will be a crucial step towards the establishment of a joint centre of excellence for the study of human behaviour in Luxembourg. The consortium members are: LISER; Integrative Research Unit on Social and Individual Development INSIDE; Institute of Cognitive Science and Assessment COSA; Luxembourg School of Finance LSF; and Luxembourg Centre of Logistics LCL).

More about the 3E DTU
The Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) 3E - Experiments, Ethics and Economics - consists of an interdisciplinary consortium of 9 social scientists who use scientific experiments involving human subjects in their research. The objective of the consortium is to create a formal link for collaboration across the three existing social science research laboratories in Luxembourg, with the aim to push forward the state-of-the-art of what we know about human behavior in economic interactions. The DTU 3E gathers members across 5 Luxembourgish research units:

(1)   Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research LISER
 (2)   Research Group: Self-Regulation and Health (Faculty of Humanities FLSHASE, University of Luxembourg UL)
 (3)   Institute of Cognitive Science and Assessment COSA (FLSHASE, UL)
 (4)   Department of Finance LSF (Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance FDEF, UL)
 (5)   Luxembourg Centre of Logistics LCL (Economics Research Centre CREA, FDEF, UL)
The 3E DTU will explore the nature of “bounded self-interest”, by focusing on the notion of ethics as a key motivation for human action in economic interactions. The key idea is that humans have an intrinsic preference to conform to what is collectively perceived as appropriate, moral or ethical behaviour. These perceptions exert an important constraint on material self-interest, and can move behaviour away from profit-maximization. The implication is that financial and economic models that fail to incorporate the notion of ethics substantially mispredict behaviour, with potentially deleterious consequences for public policy design.
The DTU aims to advance the research frontier on this topic by relying on an inter-disciplinary approach that is centered around scientific experiments with human participants as its unifying methodology. The experimental methodology will allow to explore how humans resolve the tension between ethics and profit-maximization in tightly controlled decision environments that allow for clean identification of the causal effects of interest. We will draw on existing research in economics, finance, cognitive science, psychology and operational management to explore different aspects of the tension between ethics and economics. The unique value of our consortium lies in the fact that the multidisciplinarity of our research will be firmly grounded in a common scientific approach (the experimental methodology), which will facilitate dialogue across disciplines and provide our students with a unique training background.
Discover other DTU’s at LISER here