Behavioural Research

RAND Europe provides expertise in behavioural economics to bring understanding of how psychological factors such as framing, priming, discounting, accounting for risk and other biases influence consumer behaviour.

Our research improves understanding of consumer behaviour through experiments—both hypothetical experiments and those undertaken in the field—and business models, as well as the interaction between the two.

Featured Research

  • Hand press on free trial button on virtual screen

    'Free' trials mislead many EU consumers

    Labelling that includes a notice of the monthly fee to be charged after the end of a free trial can help to improve consumers' awareness of subscription traps, but many people overlook the information or are overconfident in their ability to remember to cancel.

Selected Research

  • Red and green figures of people indicating influence on their surroundings, photo by Andrey Yalanskiy (Андрей Яланский)/Adobe Stock

    Using machine learning to detect malign information efforts online

    Social media is increasingly being used by human and automated users to distort information, erode trust in democracy and incite extremist views. Our research produced a machine learning model that can successfully detect Russian trolls.

  • back side label on the bottle of Thornbridge Bracia

    Understanding How Labels Inform Consumers about Dangers of Alcohol Consumption

    To better understand the extent to which alcoholic beverage labelling is implemented in practice, and to assess the effectiveness of health-related information conveyed and presented on products, RAND Europe worked with partners at GfK to conduct fieldwork across EU Member States to examine beverage packaging and inform how labelling could be improved.

  • wine sale

    Testing Consumer Responsiveness to Alcohol Sales Promotions

    Using stated preference choice experiments, RAND Europe gained a better understanding of how the presence of multi-buy sales promotions affects consumers' purchasing behaviour of alcohol products, in terms of both type and amount of wine, beer, and spirits.

  • wine shopping

    Consumers' Responsiveness to Alcohol Multi-buy Sales Promotions

    Multi-buy promotions have a large impact on which alcohol products consumers purchase, according to stated-preference research by RAND Europe for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The overall impact on all alcohol purchasing is somewhat smaller, though still substantial: Moderate drinkers are more likely to be swayed by these promotions, but because hazardous and harmful drinkers purchase much higher volumes of alcohol, the absolute impact on these groups is higher.

  • What Types of Interventions Change Energy Using Behaviours?

    The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was interested in understanding the effectiveness of interventions designed to change energy use behaviour in the home. They commissioned RAND Europe to assess the state of knowledge about “what works”, by systematically reviewing previous trials and initiatives, drawing on evidence from the UK and abroad. This review has informed DECC’s November 2012 Energy Efficiency Strategy, which sets out their policy direction for decades to come.

  • electric car plugged in to wall

    What Factors Affect the Wider Adoption of Electric Vehicles?

    To understand the factors affecting the wider adoption of electric vehicles, RAND Europe sponsored a project to review the barriers and relevant government interventions. The project team conducted a survey to determine the potential uptake of electric vehicles within a municipality, using Cambridge, UK, as a case study.

  • arrows pointing in circle

    Do Attitudes Affect Choices, or Vice Versa?

    Growing interest in the use of models that recognise the role of individuals' attitudes and perceptions in choice behaviour has influenced a team of RAND Europe researchers to examine the latent nature of attitudes. In an article in Transportation they present an application of jointly estimated attitudinal and choice models to a real-world transport study, looking at the role of latent attitudes in a rail travel context. The result of their work is an ordered logit structure that explains how the choices people make may be strongly influenced by their attitudes, but that the choices also say something about those attitudes.