PhD Studentships in Economics – Social Mechanisms and Applications

Royal Holloway, University of London

PhD Studentships in Economics – Social Mechanisms and Applications


The Economics Department at Royal Holloway, University of London is looking to fill two fully funded four-year PhD studentships as part of Dr. David K. Levine’s Leverhulme International Professorship to study Social Mechanisms and Applications.

Dr Levine’s project is interdisciplinary and based in the Economics department with members from the Computer Science and Psychology departments as well. The project plans to develop artificially intelligent agents who play like human beings in a laboratory setting both for the purpose of understanding human behavior and for the purpose of being able to assess theoretical models and economic policies.

There are two long-term goals of the project. The first is to develop and validate artificially intelligent agents who mimic human behavior, particularly with respect to preferences, learning how to play, and in developing social norms. This will involve acquiring new experimental data, developing AI and other learning algorithms, and assessing the performance of artificial agents. The second goal is to employ these agents in agent based modeling to answer important theoretical and policy questions.

The studentship is co-supervised by Dr David K. Levine and will lead to a PhD in economics. It is expected that the student will spend about 2/3rds of their time conducting independent research on a topic or topics of their own choosing connected to the project: theoretical or experimental work on social norms or studying related issues in political economy, for example. The remaining 1/3rd time will be spent on interdisciplinary research more directly connected with the project and this may lead to opportunities for collaboration and co-authorship. The core interdisciplinary activity will be a weekly seminar bringing together the research team of economists, psychologists and computer scientists.

Duration and Funding

The PhD fellowship is for four years, and comes with an annual stipend of £20,039 and an annual research budget of £2,000.

How to Apply

We encourage candidates with a MSc or similar background in economics to apply. In the first instance it is expected that candidates will contact Dr Michael Richter ([email protected] ) by the application deadline day. Candidates should submit their CV (including details of two references) along with a short (500 word maximum) personal statement which outlines:

  • Why they want to do a PhD
  • Why they are interested in this project
  • What experience they have that makes them suited to the studentship.
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