Robert Sugden (economist)

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Robert Sugden
Born (1949-08-26) 26 August 1949 (age 69)
NationalityUnited Kingdom
InstitutionUniversity of East Anglia, Norwich
School or
Cognitive & Behavioural Economics
Alma materUniversity of York, UK
InfluencesHarsanyi, Rawls, Smith, Hume, Mill, and Hayek
Contributionswelfare economics, social choice, decision theory, evolutionary social theory, regret theory
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Robert Sugden, FBA (born 26 August 1949) is an English author in the area of cognitive and behavioural economics. Professor Sugden’s research combines game theory (mainly experimental game theory and coordination games) with moral and political philosophy. He is associated with the classical-liberal tradition of Hume, Mill, and Hayek.


In his most cited work, Sugden explored how conventions of property, mutual aid, and voluntary supply of public goods can evolve spontaneously out of the interactions of self-interested individuals and can become moral norms.[1]

Sugden investigated a number of violations of the von Neumann and Morgenstern's expected utility axioms, and developed regret theory as an alternative with Graham Loomes. In support of this work, he developed a number of experimental methods to test theories of decision under risk.[2]

His work also deals with economic methods, in which he argues that economic models are not abstractions from, or simplifications of, the real world, but rather descriptions of imaginary worlds whose validity can only be inferred by how reasonable their predictions are.[3]

Awards and fellowships[edit]

  • Leverhulme Personal Research Professorship, Leverhulme Trust, February 1998 – January 2003

Selected papers[edit]

Selected books[edit]


  1. ^ R Sugden, The economics of rights, co-operation, and welfare (1986)
  2. ^ G Loomes and R Sugden, Regret theory: An alternative theory of rational choice under uncertainty (1982), The Economic Journal
  3. ^ R Sugden, Credible worlds: the status of theoretical models in economics (2000), Journal of Economic Methodology

External links[edit]