The standard approach in economic research comprises a limited model in which the actors react to stimuli (i.e., prices), aimed at reaching particular goals. It is assumed that empirically observed behavioural relationships can be derived from a trade-off between (perceptions of) costs and benefits by rational intelligent actors. By studying the psychology of decision making, Behavioral Economics has enriched theorising on consumer, household and managerial decision making. Also, the socio-economic approach pays attention to subjective factors, context and consequences of behaviour.
Most research activities of ECH are conducted within the area of Behavioural Economics. In Behavioural Economics behaviour with respect to judgment, choice and social decision making is studied taking into account subjective factors, context and (expected) consequences of behaviour. This type of economic research has many applications, including the Wageningen themes of food, environment and households. Behavioural Economics is becoming increasingly popular and important, and Daniel Kahneman, one of the founding fathers of this area, has obtained the Noble prize (2002) for developing research in this area.
The ECH programme comprises five research themes, in which the behavioural economic approach is applied commonly: (1) Consumer Food Choice, (2) Finance, (3) Environment, (4) Welfare, Health and Well-Being, and (5) Interdependent Decision Making.