Professor David Butler
BA, MSc, PhD

Professor of Economics

About me

I studied for my Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of York, UK, and obtained my PhD from the University of Western Australia (UWA). I have previously taught at UWA and the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. My research interests are in experimental economics, decision theory and behavioural game theory. I am currently the Head of the Economics and Finance group, the Associate Dean of Research in MBS and President of the WA branch of the Australian Economic Society.

Teaching area

  • BUS463: Contemporary Advances in Economics: Theory and Applications and
  • BUS260/MBS562: Macroeconomics A

Research areas

My main research interests are in experimental economics, decision theory and behavioural game theory. In particular I am interested in imprecision in preferences and its consequences for decision theory and economic behaviour, and also the role of ‘we-reasoning’ in explaining cooperation in strategic interactions.

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Current projects

  • Investigating the Sensitivity and Validity of Measures of Strength of Preference (revise & resubmit, Experimental Economics, ABDC rank: A).
  • Testing the ‘Standard’ Model of Stochastic Choice under Risk (revise & resubmit, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, ABDC rank: A*).
  • What Lies Beneath? Systematic Intransitive Tendencies Revealed by Strength of Preference Judgments
  • Eliciting Strength of Preference Judgments using Money Incentives: Panacea or Chimera?
  • Confidence, Strength of Preference and Decision Time in Choice under Risk
  • Preference and Belief Imprecision in Games

Awards and grants

2010- 2012  Australian Research CouncilDiscovery” grant for $92,317 entitled: “Investigating Imprecision in Preferences and its Possible Consequences for Economics”

2000  Australian Research Council small grant for $10,372 to study “The Evolutionary Psychology of Cooperation”. Co-investigators on this inter-disciplinary project were Professor James Chisholm (Anatomy and Human Biology, UWA) and Associate Professor Victoria Burbank (Anthropology, UWA).

Events and speaking engagements

  1. Monash University, Economics department (2012)
  2. University of Adelaide, Economics department (2011)
  3. 2011 Australian Economic Society WA, AGM Dinner speaker
  4. 2011 Economic Science Association, Luxembourg
  5. 2011 Workshop on Experimental Economics, Monash University
  6. 2010 Australian Conference of Economists, Sydney
  7. 2010 Foundations of Utility and Risk Theory, University of Newcastle, UK.
  8. Monash University, Economics department (2010)
  9. University of Western Australia, Agricultural Economics department (2010)
  10. Warwick University, Economics department (2010)
  11. George Mason University, Economics department (2010)
  12. University of Arizona, Economics department (2010)
  13. 2008 Workshop on Learning in Games, University ofArizona
  14. 2008 Mini workshop on Imprecise Preferences,University of Arizona
  15. Monash University, Economics department (2008)
  16. ANU, Economics department (2008)
  17. University of Arizona, Economics department (2008)
  18. University of Western Australia, Economics department (2007)
  19. Monash University, Economics department (2007)
  20. 2007 Workshop on Experimental Economics,University of Melbourne
  21. 2007 Economic Science Association,Rome
  22. 2007 Workshop on Experimental Economics, Monash University
  23. University of Western Australia, Economics department (2005)
  24. University of Arizona, Agricultural Economics department (2004)
  25. University of Arizona, Economics department (2002)
  26. University of Adelaide, Economics department (2002)
  27. University of Western Australia, Economics department (2001)
  28. 2001 Institute of Advanced Studies: ‘Advances in Human Evolutionary Ecology: Evolution and Development’, Perth
  29. 2000 Economic Science Association,Tucson
  30. University of Adelaide, Economics department (2000)
  31. 1999 Subjective Probability and Utility in Decision-Making (SPUDM),Mannheim
  32. 1999 Australian Economic Society,Melbourne
  33. University of Arizona, Management and Policy department (1999)
  34. University of Arizona, Behaviour Genetics Research Group (1997)
  35. University of Arizona, Economics department (1997)
  36. University of Western Australia, Economics department (1997)
  37. 1996 Econometric Society,Perth
  38. 1995 PhD Conference in Economics,Perth
  39. University of Western Australia, Economics department (1995)
  40. University of East Anglia, Economics department (1994)
  41. Curtin University, Economics department (1993)
  42. 1993 Australian Centre for Experimental Economics, Adelaide
  43. 1992 Australian Centre for Experimental Economics, Adelaide
  44. University of Adelaide, Economics department (1991)
  45. Edith Cowan University, Economics department (1991)
  46. University of Western Australia, Economics department (1990)
  47. 1991 Australian Centre for Experimental Economics, Adelaide
  48. 1991 Australian Economic Society, Hobart
  49. 1988 Foundations of Utility and Risk Theory (FUR), Budapest
  50. 1987 Subjective Probability and Utility in Decision-Making (SPUDM), Cambridge University

Professional and community service

I am currently the President of the WA branch of the Australian Economic Society. I am chairing the organisation of the 2013 Conference of Economists to be held in Perth. I am also hosting the annual Australia-New Zealand Workshop on Experimental Economics at Murdoch in 2012.

I have acted as a referee for the Australian Research Council and for top international journals including: American Economic Review; Review of Economic Studies; International Economic Review, Journal of the European Economic Association; Economic Journal; Economica; Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Experimental Economics; Journal of Mathematical Economics, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making; Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes; Human Nature.

Doctoral and masters supervisions

I am currently joint supervisor of three PhD students:

1. Ingebjorg Kristoffersen at UWA

2. Consilz Tan at Murdoch

3. Omar Ethialebum at Murdoch

Publications

Journals

  • Butler, D., Isoni, A., Loomes, G., (2012), Testing the Standard Model of Stochastic Choice under Risk, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 45, , pages 191 - 213.
  • Butler, D., (2012), A Choice for Me or for Us? Using We-Reasoning to Predict Cooperation and Coordination in Games, Theory and Decision: an international journal for multidisciplinary advances in decision sciences, 73, 1, pages 53 - 76.
  • Butler, D., Burbank, V., Chisholm, J., (2011), The frames behind the games: Player's perceptions of prisoners dilemma, chicken, dictator, and ultimatum games, Journal of Socio-Economics, 40, 2, pages 103 - 114.
  • Butler, D., Loomes, G., (2011), Imprecision as an account of violations of independence and betweenness, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 80, 3, pages 511 - 522.
  • Butler, D., (2007), Imprecision as an account of the preference reversal phenomenon, American Economic Review, 97, , pages 277 - 297.
  • Butler, D.J. Isoni, A., Loomes, G. and Navarro-Martinez, D. (2014). “On the Measurement of Strength of Preference in Units of Money”, Economic Record, forthcoming, (ABDC rank: A)
  • Butler, D.J., Isoni, A., Loomes, G. and Tsutsui, K. (2014). “Beyond Choice: Investigating the Sensitivity and Validity of Measures of Strength of Preference”, Experimental Economics, forthcoming, (ABDC rank: A*)
  • Butler, D.J. Isoni, A. and Loomes G. (2012). “Testing the ‘Standard’ Model of Stochastic Choice under Risk”, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,  (Lead Article; ABDC rank: A)
  •  Butler, D.J. (2012). “A Choice for ‘Me’ or for ‘Us’? Using We-Reasoning to Predict Cooperation and Coordination in Games”, Theory and Decision, Vol.73, pp.53-76.(ABDC rank: A)
  •  Butler, D.J. and Loomes, G.C., (2011). “Imprecision as an Account of Violations of Independence and Betweenness”, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol.80, pp.511-522. (ABDC rank: A*)
  • Butler, D.J. Burbank, V. and Chisholm, J. (2011) “The Frames behind the Games: Players Perceptions of Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chicken, Ultimatum and Dictator Games”, Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol.40, pp.103-114. (Lead Article; ABDC rank: B)
  • Dufwenberg, M., Sundaram, R. and Butler, D.J. (2010) “Epiphany in the Game of 21”, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization Vol.75, pp.132-143. (ABDC rank: A*)
  • Butler, D.J. and Loomes, G.C. (2007) “Imprecision as an Account of the Preference Reversal Phenomenon”, American Economic Review, Vol.97, pp.277-297. (ABDC rank: A*)
  • Connolly, T. and Butler, D.J. (2006) “Regret in Economic and Psychological Theories of Choice”, Journal of Behavioral Decision-Making, Vol.19, pp. 139-154. (ABDC rank: A)
  • Butler, D. J. (2005) “A Reality Check for Game Theory”, Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 19, pp. 137-147. (ABDC rank: B)
  • Butler, D. J. (2003) “Evolution, the Emotions and Rationality in Social Interaction”, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 26, pp. 156-157. (ERA rank: A*)
  • Butler, D.J. and Moffatt, P. (2000) “The Demand for Goods under Mixture Aversion”, Manchester School, Vol. 68, pp. 349-359. (ABDC rank: B)
  • Butler, D.J. (2000) “Do Non-Expected Utility Choice Patterns Spring from Hazy Preferences? An Experimental Study of Choice Errors”, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 41, pp. 277-297. (ABDC rank: A*)
  •  Butler, D.J. (1998) “A Choice-rule Formulation of Intransitive Utility Theory”, Economics Letters, Vol. 59, pp. 323-329.  (ABDC rank: A)
  •  Butler, D.J. and Loomes, G.C. (1997) “Quasi-Rational Search under Incomplete Information: Some Evidence from Experiments”, Manchester School, Vol. 65, pp. 127-144. (ABDC rank: B)
  •  Butler, D.J. (1996) “The Experimental Economics Experiment”, Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 10, pp. 347-356. (ABDC rank: B)
  •  Butler, D.J. (1992) “An Experimental Investigation into the Effects of Uncertainty on Rational Behaviour in Two-Person Symmetric Games”, Journal of Behavioural Decision-Making, Vol. 5, pp. 283-301. (ABDC rank: A)
  •  Butler, D.J. (1989) Review of J. Ford’s “Economic Choice under Uncertainty: A Perspective Theory Approach”, Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 10, pp. 534-538. (ABDC rank: A)
  •  Butler, D.J. (1989) “Experimental Economics and the Market Process”, Economic Affairs, Vol. 9, pp. 28-32. (ABDC rank: C)
  • Butler, D.J. and Loomes, G.C. (1988) “Decision Difficulty and Imprecise Preferences”, Acta Psychologica, Vol. 68, pp. 183-196. (ABDC rank: A)
  • Butler, D.J. and Hey, J.D. (1987) “Experimental Economics: An Introductory Survey”, Empirica: Austrian Economic Papers, Vol. 2, pp. 157-186. (ABDC rank: C)