Department of Economics

Lory successfully passed her viva in 2014

Research student insight

Lory Barile


Lory Barile

  • Department: Economics
  • First supervisor: Professor John Cullis
  • Second supervisor: Professor Philip Jones
  • Research project: Economic Incentives and Sustainability with Special Reference to Public Finance Issues

Lory completed her undergraduate degree in Political Sciences at the University of Florence ‘Cesare Alfieri’ in Italy, after which she studied for her first PhD in Economics at the University of Genoa.

During this time, she also joined the Department of Economics at the University of Bath to study the MSc Economics programme, and also secured a position as a junior researcher in Public Finance and Tax Policies c/o CER (Centro Europa Ricerche) in Rome.

During those years, I consolidated my interests in Public Finance and continued my studies in behavioural economics, on which I had been working on as part of my PhD Dissertation in Italy.

When another PhD position at the University of Bath on economic incentives and sustainability became available, Lory thought this would be a great opportunity to broaden her research experience to environmental and behavioural economics and to return to the Department of Economics.

Investigating monetary incentives towards recycling

He research is being supervised by Professor John Cullis, who previously supervised her MSc Dissertation, and Professor Philip Jones. Both are experts in Public Finance and Public Choice and, in recent years, have developed research interests in Behavioural Economics.

Lory’s work has been focused on assessing the impact of different monetary incentives (such as mandatory vs. facilitating nudge policy schemes) on individuals’ attitudes towards recycling. She has also placed emphasis on the crowding-out/in effect of individuals’ intrinsic motivation.

My results seem to suggest that a facilitating nudge policy measure, like the provision or improvement of recycling materials and services, seems to be relatively powerful in increasing individuals’ contribution towards recycling when compared to a mandatory scheme, such as fines.

Working on an interdisciplinary project, which tries to bring together psychological and economic perspectives, has brought some challenges with it.

Sometimes I have found it difficult to combine the two approaches, especially when modelling questionnaire surveys. Many think that building a survey questionnaire is simple, but a properly constructed research survey might be painful as it requires careful thought and creativity in sequencing and framing of questions and options.

Lory believes that understanding the relationship between individuals’ intrinsic motivation and economic incentives will help policy makers find practical solutions to overcoming problems of free-riding in environmental context.

Analysing these issues might be of great relevance for the public as results might suggest solutions to encourage individuals to change their lifestyle towards more sustainable behaviours.

Involvement with the University

Lory has taken an active role at the University and become involved in social events and activities, such as symposiums and workshops organised by the Department and her peers. In her second year she was elected as the Postgraduate Research Student Representative, which has involved her in liaison with staff and students through the Graduate School and the Faculty.

Since my arrival in Bath, I have had some teaching experiences in a variety of topics, such as Introductory Microeconomics, Introductory Econometrics, Economic Data Analysis and Research and Computing Skills. As part of my training programme, I also attended many PGSkills courses and a Summer School in econometrics at the London School of Economics.

She has also received great support from the Academic Skills Centre (ASC) at the University of Bath.

The ELC gave me the opportunity to improve my English language skills before starting my PhD, and to improve my writing and speaking Spanish skills by attending a free course during the first year of my degree.

Future plans

Lory has enjoyed her time researching at the University of Bath and feels that studying for a research degree relates to a better career in the future.

Conducting research is just a matter of passion; you need to enjoy what you are doing, even more when you meet obstacles. No matter what the outcome of your research is. Like any gamble, you are taking a risk to prove (or disprove) your hypotheses, and such kind of feeling is priceless.

Lory now plans to find a job within academia where she can publish the main results from her research.

Further information

To find out more about Lory’s research, you can contact her by email:

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