Pete Lunn

Research Professor

Pete Lunn is the founder and head of the ESRI’s Behavioural Research Unit. A behavioural economist, he holds degrees in Philosophy & Psychology, Neuroscience and Economics. Pete’s primary research interest is economic decision-making and, in particular, how people negotiate trade-offs.

Pete has built a team of behavioural scientists at the ESRI that specialises in designing and conducting laboratory and field experiments to inform policy. Recent work also involves pre-testing specific policy interventions designed to help people to make better decisions. He is part of an international network of researchers who have begun to apply behavioural science directly to policy development. Pete’s most recent work focuses on consumers’ comprehension and decision-making in relation to complex products, such as car finance, pensions and personal loans. He has recently expanded the work of the Behavioural Research Unit to investigate decisions and behaviours that affect environmental and major public health outcomes, including physical activity and diet.

Pete’s research has been published in international journals in economics, psychology, finance, public health and consumer research. However, as a former BBC journalist, Pete believes strongly in science communication. He is the author of a book on behavioural economics for general readers (Basic Instincts: Human Nature and the New Economics) and does a regular radio slot on behavioural science for NewsTalk 106-108.

Pete also provides training for policymakers in the application of behavioural science. In addition to workshops and presentations for senior civil and public servants in Ireland, he designed and regularly delivers a training course in behavioural science for officers of the European Commission.