UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Arianna Buratto

Thesis: Behavioural Economics, Sustainable Food Production and Consumption


Behavioural economics models and theories challenge the neoclassical models of economic theory and suggest that it may be problematic to assume rational behaviour of individuals because (a) this behaviour is often led by contrasting motivations and incentives, and (b) individuals’ decisions are affected by social factors and psychological constraints.

Policies that are constructed starting from the neoclassical economic theories may not work or deliver unexpected outcomes if these theories cannot accurately predict people’s behaviours. For this reason, the study of behavioural economics has recently become more and more appealing to policymakers. Its implementation can, in fact, improve benefit-cost analysis and the understanding of how people’s behaviour will be affected by these policies.

The aim of the Arianna’s research is to investigate how behavioural insights can help us make food production and consumption more sustainable. By analysing how people respond to different economic and psychological inputs, this research will determine how (food) production and consumption behaviours can be steered towards more sustainable ones. The results will be used to advise both policymakers and individual households.


Arianna is a behavioural economist interested in behavioural science and behaviour change, microeconomics, environmental economics, and sustainable resources. Arianna holds a BSc in Economics and an MSc in Cognitive and Decision Sciences from UCL. Her master’s thesis, Warmth, competence, and the impact of social feedback on behaviour, was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Lasana Harris, and it was awarded a distinction. Arianna has also been working as a postgraduate teaching assistant at UCL and has received awards for her teaching activities within the MSc Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment.