Welcome to RUBEN

Brief Overview

RUBEN is an interdisciplinary group of researchers who use economic experiments, often together with fMRI imaging techniques, to examine the role that social, cognitive and emotional factors play in economic decision-making. In particular, the methodological approach in which the members of our team are experts allows the estimation of risk attitudes and time preferences of individuals, households and communities in the field. RUBEN is currently the only centre for experimental research in economics on the African continent, providing training, research leadership and technical resources for the benefit of researchers throughout the continent.

A key aspect of RUBEN activity is training. RUBEN hosts annual training workshops for scholars from the rest of the continent, and raises funds to cover all workshop costs for these participants. In addition, the Unit aims to provide scholarships for 4-6 postgraduate students annually.

The research programme of RUBEN focuses on risk, uncertainty and the costs of waiting in the dynamics of African poverty and development. Since the research requires the provision of cash incentives to participants engaged in the experiments, funding is typically project-specific. Recent projects undertaken by RUBEN researchers include:
  • National Urban Prevalence Study of Gambling Behaviour
  • Trust, risk, inequality and economic growth
  • Climate change in an experimental setting: The effect of stochastic future disasters and country vulnerability on cooperation.
  • The Relationship Between Addiction and Reward Bundling: an Experiment Comparing Smokers and Non-smokers
  • Risk-aversion and risk-taking in the classroom