Mind & Behaviour Research Group

The Mind and Behaviour Research Group brings together economists, psychiatrists, and psychologists based at the University of Oxford as part of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. Our aim is to investigate the psychological impact of living in poverty and use findings to improve policy programmes.

What we do

Build body of evidence

Conduct rigorous research on how psychology shapes economic decision-making. 

Share research methods 

Provide access to psychological measures and instruments to aid future research.

Talk to policymakers

Spark new policy conversations on using behaviour science in anti-poverty programmes.

Our research in the news

All news
CSAE Research Podcasts Episode 9 on Cash Transfer Grants in South Africa

Lead of the MBRG Kate Orkin talks to CSAE Director Stefan Dercon about the work behind the ESRC Outstanding Public Policy Impact Award 2023 on with cash transfers grants in South Africa during the Covid-19 Pandemic in episode nine of the CSAE Research Podcasts series.

You can listen to the conversation via the University of Oxford Podcasts or Apple Podcasts, or watch the discussion on the CSAE YouTube channel.

Kate Orkin wins ESRC prize for Outstanding Public Policy Impact

MBRG lead Kate Orkin has won the ESRC award for Outstanding Public Policy Impact, for her role advising the South African government during COVID-19 and beyond. She influenced £4.87 billion in spending that helped 28.5 million people and saved 5.5 million from extreme poverty.

MBRG Policy work featured in University of Oxford news

MBRG research on cash transfer payments in Kenya and South Africa featured on the University of Oxford news website.

Advising partnership with the South African government to reduce poverty and unemployment

Using evidence-based recommendations from our, and the work of other researchers globally, our team worked with the Project Management Office in the South African Presidency to identify immediate ways to reduce the effects of poverty through cash grants paid via mobile phone. This work earned recognition through the University of Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation & Engagement Awards.

For more information and to read our series of policy working papers on the design of policies to reduce poverty and unemployment, please click below.