03 July 2019

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To apply for the position, please prepare the following documents:

•    A curriculum vitae
•    An overview of your study results (certified copies of diplomas and transcripts).
•    A letter of motivation (max. 500 words): all applicants must provide a letter of motivation.
•    A digital copy of one or two texts that are a proof of your research experience (and analytical qualities) - if available preferably in English. 

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Kristof De Witte, tel.: +32 16 32 66 56, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than August 30, 2019 via the online application tool.
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Apply before 30 August 2019

LEER is a research and education center of the Faculty of Economics and Business of the KU Leuven. We aim for independent state-of-the-art academic research on educational issues with economic tools (see

Website unit


The European Key Competences emphasize the importance of financial literacy for a successful participation of individuals in society. Moreover, it has been argued that for macroeconomic stability and individuals’ (financial) well-being, financial literacy is a necessary condition. However, it is not a sufficient condition as individuals might still act in an irrational way due to cognitive biases. Since suboptimal decision-making is apparent across the ranges of educational level and socioeconomic status, there is a need for further research on the prevalence and cures for similar cognitive biases. Up to now, there is a lack of studies examining which interventions could indeed result in improved financial decisions. Thanks to funding by the ‘Baloise Chair to Financial Well-being’, this PhD research fills this gap.

In line with the traditional economic theory that assumes rational decisions of individuals, it is assumed that more financial literate individuals act more rational. However, there is an expanding literature that rigorously shows that individuals might deviate from rational decisions. Similar cognitive biases correspond to systematic patterns of deviations from norm or rational behaviour.

This research should obtain more insights in the following research questions: 
- What is the role of cognitive biases in actions to promote financial well-being? 
- How can insights from behavioral economics be applied to financial well-being?

To examine the questions, we make use of randomized controlled trials on an online platform. As a PhD researcher, you design the interventions (e.g. framing of the tool on the website) and analyse the effect by using econometric tools. Using the collected data, the PhD researcher writes at least four papers which will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals.


The Research Center ‘Leuven Economics of Education Research’ (KU Leuven) is looking for an enthusiastic and motivated junior scholar to conduct a PhD in economics. The candidate should have the following qualifications:

  • You hold an EU MSc degree in Economics, Business Economics, Commercial Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mathematics, Sociology, or similar.
  • You have a keen interest in scientific research on behavioral economics, financial well-being, and more generally in education economics.
  • Having at least ‘cum laude’ during master years.
  • You have (starter) skills in statistical, econometric and quantitative data analysis and experience with statistical packages; and are keen on developing these skills further.
  • Enthusiastic and motivated to do research.
  • You are proficient in English; your knowledge of Dutch might be an advantage.
  • You have very good scientific writing skills.
  • You are a team player that is able to work independently.
  • Successful candidates are required to enter the PhD program in economics of the Faculty of Economics and Business of KU Leuven (see Supplement to your previous studies, the candidate is required to take on an individual “doctum colloquium” consisting of courses from the Master of Science in Advanced Studies in Economics. Students who have obtained a Master of Science in Advanced Studies in Economics degree from KU Leuven with honors or higher will be exempted from this doctum colloquium.
  • The candidate is expected to prepare a PhD at the LEER research group under the supervision of Professor Kristof De Witte.
  • We offer a competitive full-time PhD scholarship. The position is for 4 years, conditional upon a positive evaluation after 1 year.
  • We offer additional benefits in terms of health insurance, reduced public transport prices, free bicycle use, access to university sports facilities, …
  • KU Leuven offers opportunities to follow academic, skills and career training courses.
  • Working in an attractive international environment.
  • You are expected to participate in seminars and will occasionally be involved in teaching activities including supervision of exams.
  • Start date – October 1, 2019. 
  • Once the PhD study is completed, you receive a PhD in Economics.