PhD defence of Zhihua Li on Thursday 18 December 2014

On Thursday 18 December 2014 Zhihua Li will defend her PhD thesis entitled 'Irrationality:  What, Why and How. Supervisors are Professor Han Bleichrodt, Professor Kirsten Rohde and Professor Peter Wakker (all Erasmus School of Economics), Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor Aurélien Baillon, emeritus Professor Justus Veenman (both Erasmus School of Economics) and Professor Jack Vromen (Erasmus University Rotterdam - Faculty of Philosophy).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam (Campus Woudestein) and will start at 11.30 hrs.

About Zhihua Li

Zhihua Li (1986) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from China University of Geosciences (CUG) and a second Bachelor’s degree in Biology Science from Wuhan University. Her grades ranked 1st among graduates of year 2008 at School of Management, CUG. She also holds a Master’s degree with highest distinction in Organizational Behaviour from Erasmus Research Institute of Management, Rotterdam School of Management. In October 2010, Zhihua was promoted by Professor Han Bleichrodt and Professor Peter Wakker as a PhD candidate in Behavioural Economics and joined the Department of Applied Economics, Erasmus School of Economics. Her daily supervisor is Professor Kirsten Rohde. With the interest in contributing to a deeper understanding of decision-making and judgements, she carried out researches testing economic theories in the enviroment of imperfect decision. She also takes a special interest in bridging advancements in decision theory and improvements of real life decisions.

As part of her PhD training, Zhihua spent time as a visiting researcher at National University of Singapore, as well as applying rational theories to improve decision-making quality. She has presented her work at different conferences and worshops such as Foundations of Utility and Risk (FUR), Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making (SPUDM), TIBER/Erasmus Behavioral Economics - workshop, Learning, Decision and Bounded Rationality Workshop. Her work has also been presented at conferences and leading research institutes such as Decision Theory Forum (DT), National University of Singapore, Nanyang Techonological University, University of Zurich. Currently, she works as a research fellow at the University of Warwick.

About thesis 'Irrationality:  What, Why and How'

This thesis has made a special effort to explore some relevant issues on (ir)rationality. Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 answer the question what is irrationality. Chapter 2 improves the methodology to measure irrationality by proposing a new incentive system on individual decision-making: the prior incentive system (Prince). Chapter 3 addresses the issue of irrationality in decisions under ambiguity. Chapter 4 answers the question of why we steer people away from irrationality. Chapter 4 discusses whether we should correct people's irrationality by imposing a better decision when freedom of choice cannot be realized. Chapter 4 concludes with recommending strong paternalism and provides a litmus test for people's views on paternalism. Chapter 5 answers the question how to make people less irrational. Chapter 5 studies the social influences on people's decision-making processes and offers possible approaches to nudge people away from irrationality.

More information

Li's PhD research project is conducted within the Erasmus Doctoral Programme organized by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes