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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



Lucia A. Reisch is a behavioural economist and social scientist by training and the inaugural El-Erian Professor of Behavioural Economics and Policy at the University of Cambridge.

As El-Erian Institute's Director, she sees this as a unique opportunity to focus on behavioural insights based policies for sustainable development, both in research, teaching, and practice, in cooperation with policymakers and innovative companies worldwide. 

Her main research focus today is on behavioural economics, behavioural public policy, sustainable consumption (in particular, energy, food and health, active mobility and fashion), intercultural consumer behaviour, consumers and digitization, as well as consumer policy.

Over the past years, she has been involved as principal investigator in several large EU research projects on consumer behaviour and policy, as well as participating in German, Danish, and Swedish research projects.   

She also holds a permanent Guest Professorship at the Zeppelin University of Friedrichshafen (Germany). In 2017, she was appointed as honorary Leibniz Chair, jointly awarded by the German Leibniz Association and the Leibniz Institute of Prevention Research and Epidemiology (BIPS) in Bremen. She is an elected lifelong member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering.  

Besides academic research, teaching and outreach, Lucia is engaged in policy consultancy, e.g. nine years as a member of the German Council for Sustainable Development, the Ethics Commission for Safe Energy Supply of the German Chancellor, the German Bioeconomy Council and the German Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs, all of which consult with the German federal government.

She is honoured to consult with governments and non-governmental organizations in different countries on how to apply behavioural insights to increase citizens’ welfare and foster sustainable development. She also works with the OECD, the European Commission, the World Bank and UN bodies on sustainable consumption issues. Lucia also consults innovative businesses on sustainability issues and chairs the Sustainability Board of Dr. h.c. Porsche AG.  

For the last 20 years, Lucia has been one of the Editors in Chief of the Journal of Consumer Policy (SpringerNature Publishers) and a member of the Editorial Board of several academic journals and book series in the field of behavioural public policy and sustainable development. 

Lucia also founded the Consumer and Behavioural Insights Group (CBIG) at Copenhagen Business School.



Behavioural Economics; Behavioural Public Policy.

Consumer Research; Intercultural Consumer Behaviour; Consumers and Digitization.

Sustainable Development; Sustainable Consumption.


Key publications: 
Recent publications


Lucia A. Reisch (2021). Shaping healthy and sustainable food systems with behavioural food policy. European Review of Agricultural Economics, Article jbab024, Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/erae/jbab024.


Lucia A. Reisch, Cass R. Sunstein & Micha Kaiser (2021). What do people want to know?

Information avoidance and food policy implications. Food Policy102, Article 102076. doi: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2021.102076.


Jan Bauer, Sabine Bietz, Julius Rauber & Lucia A. Reisch (2021). Nudging healthier food choices in a cafeteria setting: A sequential multi-intervention field study. Appetite, 160, Article 105106. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105106.


Lucia A. Reisch, Cass R. Sunstein, Mark A. Andor, Friederike C. Doebbe, Neal R. Haddaway & Johanna Meier (2021). Mitigating climate change via food consumption and food waste: A systematic map of behavioural interventions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 279, Article 123717. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.123717.


Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (2021). Climate-friendly default rules. In: R. Bali Sawin & S. Sweet (Eds.), Sustainable consumption and production: Challenges and development, Vol. 1 (pp. 141–164)Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Cass R. Sunstein, Lucia A. Reisch & Micha Kaiser (2021). Most people like nudges – and why that matters. In: S. Grundmann & P. Hacker (Eds.), Theories of choice. The social science and the law of individual, collective and organizational decision making (pp. 73–86). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Other publications: 


Micha Kaiser, Manuela Bernauer, Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (2020). The power of green defaults: The impact of regional variation of opt-out tariffs on green energy demand in Germany. Ecological Economics. 174. 106685. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106685


Cass R. Sunstein, Lucia A. Reisch & Micha Kaiser (2019). Trusting nudges? Lessons from an international survey. Journal of European Public Policy, 26(10), 1417-1443. DOI:10.1080/13501763.2018.1531912 (published first online 11 October 2018)


Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (2019). Trusting nudges: Toward a bill of rights for nudging. London: Routledge.


Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (Eds.) (2017). The economics of nudge. Routledge Major Works Collection. Series: Critical Concepts in Economics. London: Routledge, 4 Volumes.


Lucia A. Reisch & John Thøgersen (Eds.) (2015). Handbook of research on sustainable consumption. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.


Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (2014). Automatically green: Behavioral economics and environmental protection. Harvard Environmental Law Review, 38(1), 127-158.


Other Professional Activities

Distinctions and Awards

  • 1983 Honours for A-level exam (Abitur): Best Graduate of the Year 1983, Paracelsusgymnasium Stuttgart. 
  • 1988 Honours for Diploma (Dipl.oec.): Best Graduate of the Year 1988, Programme “Economics and Social Sciences”, University of Hohenheim. 
  • 1997 Post-Doctoral Research Scholarship, Margarete von Wrangell Programme (State Government, Baden-Württemberg). 
  • 2014 Elected Member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), Munich/Berlin   
  • 2017 Award of the highest Medal of the State of Baden-Württemberg, the “Order of Merit of Baden-Wuerttemberg” for “social and scientific engagement for sustainable development and policy”, Mannheim.  
  • 2017 Honorary “Leibniz Chair” at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS GmbH, Bremen. 
  • 2020 Danish Society for Business and Education Research Award for high quality and highly applicable research. 
El-Erian Professor of Behavioural Economics and Policy
Director of the El-Erian Institute
Fellow of Queens College
Prof Lucia Reisch

Contact Details

El-Erian Institute