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Can transactional data help to understand human behaviour?

Abstract: Digital technology is opening up a new era in the understanding of human behaviour. An ever increasing amount of machine recorded information is being generated as we traverse our daily lives, touching on a range of human behaviours from financial activity (via banking records) to eating habits (via supermarket loyalty cards and digital food diaries). The information that can be gained from these transactional data sources can go beyond self-reports that are traditionally used to measure real world behaviours. My research focuses on creating an ethical, privacy-preserving framework to use transactional records of human behaviour such as banking and retail data for public good. Based on my ongoing work with Boots, Tesco and banking data, I will talk about possibilities and challenges of working with large transactional datasets for research on human behaviour. I will present several ongoing projects in the domains of food choice, personality and wellbeing. Further, I will talk about projects on linking transactional data to longitudinal population studies data and associated possibilities and challenges, as well as about ethics of research with big data.

New research on the impact of gold prices on baby girls' survival in India

Recent government figures put India’s sex ratio at birth at 900 girls per 1,000 boys during 2013–15. Professor Sonia Bhalotra’s study looks into the tradition of bridal dowry and follows the price of gold to unpick changes in India’s baby girl birth rate over decades.

May 2018 EUROMOD Course

The aim of the course is to provide academics, policy practitioners and other interested users with an introduction to the concepts, structure and functioning of EUROMOD. EUROMOD is a state-of-the art tax-benefit microsimulation model linking micro-data from household surveys and policy legislation in a single user interface. It allows for complex policy impact analysis, such as evaluations of policy reforms in terms of poverty, inequality, work incentives and government budgets, assessments of EU-wide policies or estimation of the impact of changing population characteristics on the redistributive effect of existing policies.EUROMOD is now expanded to cover all 28 EU Member States.

The course will cover the basics of tax-benefit microsimulation, the logic and structure behind EUROMOD, working with EUROMOD’s user interface, input data, EUROMOD’s modelling ‘language’ and using documentation. The course combines lectures with live demonstrations of the model. Participants also have the opportunity to carry out a number of hands-on exercises to test and refine their understanding of the model.

If you are interested in attending or would like more information, please complete this application form. The closing date for applications is 28 February 2018. All candidates will be informed whether their applications have been accepted by 19 March 2018.

Masterclass on integrating genetics and social sciences

Understanding Society is delighted to welcome Professor Daniel Benjamin, Director of the Behavioural and Health Genomics Center, University of Southern California, and Co-Director of the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium, to lead a London Masterclass on integrating genetics and the social sciences

Next Director of EUROMOD announced

Matteo Richiardi appointed as Professor of Economics and will take over as Director of EUROMOD from Professor Holly Sutherland in the autumn

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