New South Wales

Ethics and Incentives


From: Friday November 17, 2017, 12:30 pm

To: Friday November 17, 2017, 8:00 pm

This Roundtable will focus on Ethics and Incentives and will serve as a no-frills debate about how we choose, promote, design, and advise in social science and business.

People behaving badly not only make headlines but by virtue of their position in society, they can have damaging spillovers on many other individuals and groups. Matters of ethics are central to professions across the social sciences, from management consultants to economic advisors to accountants. Each of these groups, like our society at large, is defined by a set of ideals that includes being “ethical” – and those who don’t adhere to those ideals, supposedly, are thrown out of the group. But are they?

In this first-of-its-kind network-and-grapple event, UNSW’s Behavioural Insights for Business and Policy (BIBaP) Research Network and the NSW branch of the Economic Society of Australia bring experts together to face today’s most pressing questions about the incentives of ethics – and the ethics of incentives – in behavioural science and business practice, such as (but not limited to):

What uses of “nudges,” defaults, and “big data” are “ethical”, and which are not? Is achieving higher market share a less noble goal than helping people overcome their innate cognitive biases? Is there a dark side to nudges?

What can the government, academia, businesses, professions, or other groups do to encourage ethical practices? What institutional arrangements hold potential, and which are merely for show? How much of a role can direct monitoring play? How important might reputational enforcement mechanisms be?

Which types of powers catalyse unethical behaviour? Which powers push people to remain ethical? What accountability mechanisms work to purge groups of unethical conduct?

A key goal of the event is to generate and start to answer questions that would benefit from further collaborative work between industry and the academy, through Commonwealth grants or other research funding schemes.

Expressions of Interest

Spaces are strictly limited. Please send Expressions of Interest to, cc:, no later than 4 November 2017.


12.30-1.15 pm Light lunch

1.15-3.00 pm - Block 1: Ethics in Individuals: (Dis)Honesty at the Micro Level – Does the Buck Stop with You?  

Moderator: Gigi Foster, Associate Professor, UNSW School of Economics

  • Andreas Ortmann, Professor, UNSW Business School (15-20 minute talk)
  • Pamela Hanrahan, Professor, UNSW Business School (15-20 minute talk)
  • Group discussion

3.00 - 3.30 pm Coffee/tea break

3.30 - 5.15 pm Block 2: Ethics in Groups: Institutional Problems and Solutions

Moderator: Andreas Ortmann, Professor, UNSW Business School

  • Dennis Gentilin, Founding Director, Human Systems Advisory (15-20 minute talk)
  • Pascal Bourgeat, Director of Behavioural Science, Ipsos Australia (15-20 minute talk)
  • Group discussion

5.15 - 6.00 pm Drinks/canapés



Location to be advised

Sydney CBD, Sydney NSW

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