Program Director for Field Experiments
Elisabet Rutström is a major researcher in field experiments, and their connection to other types of experiments and data. She most recently was a Professor and the Director of the Dean’s Behavioral Economics Lab in the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Much of her behavioral research has been on the topic of risk attitudes and perceptions, elicited both in controlled laboratory settings and in natural field settings. She has also made major contributions to the joint elicitation of risk and time preferences, and was part of a team that pioneered their elicitation for representative populations in the field in Denmark. Applications also include risk perceptions and risk attitudes among rural residents making wild fire management decisions, and also drivers facing congestion charges during their daily commute. Using naturalistic cues in virtual reality simulations, and natural cues in field settings, she presents research participants with decision tasks and uses the observations to estimate and test various decision models. She explores issues of heterogeneity in preferences and cognition using various econometric approaches, with a special interest in the interaction between the characteristics of the agent, the task and the environmental cues. She currently directs the CEAR signature research project Portfolios of Atlanta’s Poor. This project aims to learn how poor families manage financial and health risks, given the volatility of their environments and the limited formal risk management instruments they have at their disposal.