Dr Rebecca McDonald

Dr Rebecca McDonald

The Department of Economics
Lecturer in Economics

Contact details

Department of Economics
University of Birmingham
JG Smith Building
B15 2TT

Rebecca is a lecturer in economics. She conducts research in behavioural economics using experimental methods. She studies how individuals value outcomes that do not have a clear market price, including health, online privacy, and the risk of fatality. In doing so, she explores how risk and delay affect the value of outcomes, and examines the stability of preferences within and across contexts.


PhD in Economics, Newcastle University 2013

MSc in Behavioural Economics, University of Nottingham 2010

BA in Economics, Newcastle University 2009


Rebecca is a behavioural economist who studies the value of fatality risk, health and online privacy. She develops experimental methods to help understand the societal value of such outcomes in the absence of market prices. In her doctoral research at the University of Newcastle she investigated how context and latency offset in people’s preference for different fatality risks. In her post-doctoral research she developed novel methods in intertemporal choice research; further explored the methodological and empirical bases for understanding non-market valuation; became a sceptical supporter of the Subjective Wellbeing valuation method; and conducted experimental investigations into the stability of preferences for health outcomes, and for the privacy of personal data.


Stage 2 Microeconomics


Research interests

  • Behavioural Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • Economics of non-market valuation

 Current projects

  • Estimating the value of personal data online (PETRAS EPSRC grant) 2017 – present
  • Postdoctoral researcher – Leverhulme grant Time, Risk and Society - the Behavioural Economics of Value


Cubitt, R., McDonald, R. & Read, D. (in press), Time matters less when outcomes differ: Uni-modal versus cross-modal comparisons in intertemporal choice. forthcoming at Management Science (accepted April 2016).

Read, D, McDonald, R and He, L. (in press) “Intertemporal Choice: foundations, non-monetary applications and future directions” in Lewis, A (ed.) The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behavior, 2nd edition Cambridge University Press

McDonald, R., Chilton, S., Jones-Lee, M., & Metcalf, H., (2017) Evidence of variable discount rates and non-standard discounting in mortality risk valuation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 82, 152-167.

McDonald, R., Chilton, S., Jones-Lee, M. & Metcalf, H. (2016), Dread and Latency Impacts on a VSL for Cancer Risk Reductions. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 52, 1-25.

Chilton, S., Jones-Lee, M., McDonald, R. & Metcalf, H. (2012), Does the WTA/WTP ratio diminish as the severity of a health complaint is reduced? Testing for smoothness of the underlying utility of wealth function. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 45, 1-24.