From Behaviour to Data to Models and Back Again

Where Next for Understanding and Predicting Human Decision Making?

After early work in psychology in the 1920s and major econometric developments in the 1960s and 1970s, the mathematical modelling of human decision-making has evolved substantially in recent decades. Novel model structures have been put forward, alternative data sources have been explored, and the methods have gained a foothold in new application areas, notably health and environmental economics. At the same time, our traditional thinking is being challenged by ideas from behavioural economics and mathematical psychology, and important work remains to be done on improving the quality of our forecasts. Developments in one area of application also regularly fail to make the transition into other fields, and the impact of data quality on results is often not discussed.

Drawing on experiences of working in both theoretical and applied choice modelling across different fields, Dr. Stephane Hess presents a critical view of the reliance on cross-sectional (and often hypothetical) choice data, making the case for moving beyond treating individual decisions in isolation and discussing the potential benefits and pitfalls of moving away from models grounded in economic theory.

To register email Caroline Kurdian at

Event Date
Monday, July 23, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Pacific
University of Southern California
Verna and Peter Dauterive Hall (VPD)
Room LL101


Stephane Hess is Professor of Choice Modelling in the Institute for Transport Studies and Director of the Choice Modelling Centre at the University of Leeds. He is also Honorary Professor in Choice Modelling at the University of Sydney and has a director position at RSG, a leading North American consultancy company. His area of work is the analysis of human decision-making using advanced discrete choice models, and he is active in the fields of transport, health and environmental economics. Hess has made contributions to the state of the art in the specification, estimation and interpretation of such models. With over 100 peer reviewed journal papers on the topic, his contributions have been recognised for example by the 2014 Outstanding Young Member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) award for exceptional achievements in transportation research, policy, or practice, the 2010 Fred Burggraf award handed out by the Transportation Research Board, and the 2005 Eric Pas award for the best PhD thesis in the area of travel behaviour modelling. He is also the founding editor in chief of the Journal of Choice Modelling and the founder and steering committee chair of the International Choice Modelling Conference.

This seminar is co- hosted by METRANS Transportation Center and the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.