Edwin Ip – new talent on the BWA team
Music, wine and a lot of research
While Edwin Ip, the newest member of the BehaviourWorks team, has completed a PhD in Economics, he’s the first to tell you it’s not just about numbers, it’s about human behaviour.
“Practically anything to do with policy, society or human interaction can be understood through an economics lens.”
A lot of economics is about the study of incentives, Edwin explains, not necessarily the economy in general. In fact, economists are invading all sorts of disciplines like the behavioural sciences, regulation and law.
Completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Melbourne and his undergraduate studies at McGill University, Canada, Edwin has also studied in the UK and Spain and brings a wide range of experience to his work at BWA, where he is currently a researcher-in-residence at a superannuation firm, looking at ways members can improve their savings.
As a behavioural economist who applies his expertise in behavioural insights, experimental design, mathematical theory and statistical modelling, his special interest in judgement and decision-making has also taken him to an unusual (but rewarding) area of research – wine tasting.
“It’s an area where behaviours can be seen as weird in many ways”, he says, “it’s subjective, and defies common assumptions about decision-making.”
While he is the first to admit there are those rare people who can identify a wine with amazing accuracy just by tasting it, his approach is far more scientific; he knows the stats when it comes to wine-making, so can infer much about a wine from the data. If he has to guess the pH level of a wine, he knows what the range is for that type of varietal.
And he also plays the violin, or fiddle (according to Edwin, they’re the same thing – only the type of music you’re playing changes the name of the instrument). He’s also a keen ukulele player, so if it’s small and stringed, he’s got it covered.
Other interests include discrimination and gender-based affirmative action, Indian farmers and new technology, and even the pricing of media streaming.
He’s proof that economists can study practically anything when they put their minds to it.