Thomas Dudek

Application of Behavioral Economics Insights to Insurance Decisions

Thomas Dudek, PhD student in Economics
Thomas Dudek, PhD student in Economics

Supervisor(s): Dr Jan Feld, Professor Eberhard Feess, Professor Ilan Noy


Thomas Dudek is a PhD student in economics at the School of Economics and Finance at Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to beginning his PhD degree, he worked for several financial corporations in short-term positions such as assistant auditor (KPMG), portfolio management intern (Deutsche Bank), and project management intern (UBS), while working on or preparing for his university degrees in business administration (majoring in finance and minoring in accounting and economics). He graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Trier, Germany, and participated in fully funded study abroad programs in the USA with scholarships (PROMOS and ISEP). His master’s thesis was a behavioral economics study on the susceptibility to framing effects by people who classify as thorough thinkers (as opposed to impulsive doers). He is currently funded as a scholar by the Chair in the Economics for Disasters PhD Scholarship and is doing research in the economics sub-discipline of behavioral insurance.


Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (specialisation in finance and accounting), University of Applied Sciences Trier, Trier, Germany.

Master of Science in Business Administration (specialisation in finance and accounting), University of Trier, Trier, Germany.

Research interests

Thomas’ research interest is behavioral economics, a cross-research field of social psychology, cognitive psychology and microeconomics. He focuses on the behavioral (i.e. emotional, intuitional and “irrational”) aspects of human decision making in various contexts.

In his PhD, Thomas investigates empirically how and why people make insurance decisions. He uses laboratory experiments to understand property insurance decisions in the context of catastrophes (low-probability high-consequence, or LPHC events). His aim is to understand what drives decisions whether or not to insure a property against these LPHC events and how to improve insurance contracts so to help people make better informed and more optimal decisions. He is also interested in the impact of personality on insurance decisions, a project for which he works with secondary data from eleven countries spread over four continents.