A new home for behavioural research at Melbourne

A new research facility at the Faculty of Business and Economics will strengthen research into the fast-growing areas of behavioural and experimental economics.

The Faculty of Business and Economics Experimental Research Facility will enable behavioural experiments to test economic theories and develop policy.

“Behavioural experiments are an increasingly important tool in social sciences research but also in business and policy-making,” Faculty of Business and Economics Dean Professor Paul Kofman said.

Laboratory experiments allow researchers to study behaviour at a level of precision that is not feasible outside the lab.

At the opening of the facility, Professor Peter Bossaerts explained why experiments have become a key part of the social sciences.

“We need experiments even in the age of big data,” Professor Bossaerts said.

“In data-driven science you don’t have control, you don’t have causality. A model is not enough to have causality, we need experiments, because sometimes our intuition is just plain wrong,” said Professor Bossaerts.

Experiments are used to study behaviour and develop theories in many areas of the social sciences, ranging from consumer research, to accounting, market microstructure and health economics.

They are also increasingly being used by businesses and government agencies to develop and test new products, services and policies, before they are being rolled out in the population.

“The opening of this new state-of-the art facility is another important step in our journey to turn the Faculty into a global powerhouse for experimental research in the social sciences,” Professor Kofman said.

The new facility is located at 233 Bouverie Street in Carlton. It comprises a lab management area, testing areas and a waiting room.

Both market experiments and individual experiments with multiple concurrent participants can be conducted.

The new facility is open to all research staff and doctoral students of the Faculty of Business and Economics.

Read more about the Faculty of Business and Economics.