Faces of ESLR: Lukas von Flüe

I’ve long been captivated by the emergence of large-scale human cooperation, especially considering the vast diversity in human culture. It’s fascinating how the interplay of both intentional and unintentional processes can give rise to a myriad of complex social norms. This fascination is probably why I pursued studies in philosophy and economics, specialising in behavioural economics. Philosophy offers insightful normative perspectives on societal functions. Behavioural economics, on the other hand, offers a systematic approach to study how people, each with their own distinct interests and actions, collectively shape institutions such as social norms.

While I found it appealing that behavioural economics integrates insights from other disciplines such as psychology, I also thought it would be nice to have a more encompassing framework. During my graduate studies at the University of Zürich, I got to know Charles Efferson and Sonja Vogt, both of whom were already conducting this type of interdisciplinary research at the chair of Ernst Fehr. Through them I learned about cultural evolution, a field previously unfamiliar to me.

Having Sonja Vogt and Charles Efferson now as PhD supervisors at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne is a privilege. Being part of their interdisciplinary research team, PACE lab (https://pacelab.org/), is very inspiring, as it brings together people from diverse backgrounds. I am particularly interested in sustainability. My research centres on questions like how pro-environmental preferences and coordination norms co-evolve through social learning, whether social tipping points exist, and if so, how we can predict them. My work integrates a range of methods, including behavioural experiments, observational data, game theory, and agent-based models.

I anticipate completing my PhD in fall 2024. After that, I look forward to starting an enriching postdoc position. If you’re interested in discussing the evolution of social norms and sustainability, please connect with me on Twitter (@lukas_vonfluee). I also enjoy discussing topics beyond research, especially mountain biking, hiking and bouldering. I am always looking for great spots for these activities around the world and would be happy to share my favourite places in Switzerland.

About the author

Lukas von Flüe