GetReady: A simulator for training financial preparedness under resource scarcity

Meet the researchers: Uwe Dulleck, Ozan Isler & Onurcan Yilmaz
Posted on April 16, 2020

Meet the winners of the TFI long-term research grant: Prof. Uwe Dulleck and Dr. Ozan Isler from the Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society and Technology (BEST) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and Dr. Onurcan Yilmaz from Kadir Has University’s Moral Intuitions Lab (MINT).

They will use behavioural experiments to develop an interactive tool for training financial preparedness. Who are the researchers and what are their goals with this project?

Unforeseen illness or injury can seriously harm those who are financially unprepared. The inadequacy of personal emergency savings and insurance coverage can in part stem from behavioural biases related to lack of attention, knowledge or experience. We will build on research expertise at the BEST Centre to develop GetReady –– an interactive online tool to train financial preparedness for rare life events shocks.

First, we will observe financial decisions under time-pressure and cognitive load to study the effects of mental resource scarcity on savings decisions and insurance demand. Then, we will develop behavioural aids such as financial literacy boosts, simulated experiences of risk, and targeted advice to improve people’s financial decision-making for them to be readier to face financial shocks when these hit. Our findings will be incorporated into GetReady, which will be validated and disseminated via BEST Centre’s partnerships in the digital and financial industries.

“It is difficult to prepare for a financial shock that is rare. We will develop an online tool to promote financial preparedness for such life-events.”

What motivated you to work together with the Think Forward Initiative?

The BEST Centre and the Think Forward Initiative aim to help people make better financial decisions for themselves. Specifically, our project will contribute towards TFI’s objective to improve financial preparedness of people in Europe and beyond. The emphasis on collaboration between academic and industry partners will allow direct links between scientific insights, financial innovations and social welfare.

How do you expect your research results to contribute to people’s financial well-being?

Behavioural science provides untapped opportunities for improving personal financial management and social welfare with low costs of implementation. Our experimental findings will inform GetReady –– an online financial training tool. This tool will provide experiential learning of low probability events, thereby promoting informed choices about preferred levels of financial security. We expect financial organizations and educational institutions to be interested in adopting, extending and disseminating GetReady.

The research team

Dr. Ozan Isler is a research fellow at the BEST Centre and the School of Economics and Finance of Queensland University of Technology. He specializes in the experimental study of human behaviour in the presence of economic and cognitive resource scarcity. Ozan holds a PhD in economics from University of California, Riverside. He is an external fellow of University of Nottingham's Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) and a founding member of the MINT Lab in Istanbul. He received European Union’s Marie Curie Fellowship and published in Judgment and Decision Making, BMC Public Health and PLoS ONE.

Dr. Onurcan Yilmaz is the founding director of the MINT Lab and assistant professor of psychology at Kadir Has University, Istanbul. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from Istanbul University. His research focuses on dual-process accounts of morality and cooperation. He has published in leading academic journals such as Cognition and Evolution and Human Behavior. He maintains a popular science blog with Dr. Isler on Psychology Today called “Moral Intuitions”.

Prof. Dr. Uwe Dulleck is the founding director of the BEST Centre and professor of economics and finance at Queensland University of Technology. With a PhD in economics from Humboldt University Berlin, Uwe has published on economics and behavioral economics in leading academic journals including American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Literature, and the Economic Journal and his research has been widely discussed in news media including The Economist, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Frankfurter Allgemeine. Uwe is a member of the academic advisory panel of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Behavioural Economics Team Australia (BETA) and has been commissioned by the Australian financial market regulator ASIC as well as major Australian financial institutions to conduct research on financial decision making and financial regulation.