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Sheheryar Banuri

Associate Professor in Behavioural Economics


His primary area of research is in motivation and incentives, particular in the public sector.







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Sheheryar Banuri is Associate Professor in Behavioural Economics in the Department of Economics, UEA. His primary area of research is in motivation and incentives, particular in the public sector. He has been working with public bodies in developing countries to look at the design of contracts for workers in professions as teaching and hospital medicine. He has worked on incentives among doctors to respond to poorer patients via medical vouchers in Burkina Faso and with education policy-makers on performance-related pay for school teachers in the Philippines.

In addition, Sheheryar has been investigating the perception of risk during the COVID-19 pandemic and why compliance to rules and guideline tend to vary – and what needs to be done to ensure high levels of compliance. In his earlier career Sheheryar studied at the University of Texas and he has worked at the World Bank and at AT&T. He has written a World Development Report (on Mind, Society, and Behavior) for the World Bank and he has written a book on Good Decisions for Strange Situations.

Areas of Expertise

Political EconomyMotivation and IncentivesEconomicsBehavioral EconomicsFinance


University of Texas at Dallas

Ph.D., Political Economy


University of Texas at Dallas

M.S., Applied Economics


University of Texas at Dallas

B.S., Economics and Finance


Media Appearances

Lahore School of Economics hosts third online ADE seminar

The Nation  online


In the third online Applied Development Economics (ADE) seminar hosted by the Lahore School of Economics on 21st July, Dr Sheheryar Banuri (Associate Professor, University of East Anglia, UK) discussed findings from a study conducted by Dr Banuri with colleagues from the World Bank. In a clean lab environment, he shows that individuals still engage in (costly) consumption to signal status, that access to credit exacerbates inequality by reducing the income share of the poorest.

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Coronavirus spike in 20 US states

Daily Mercury  online


"We are predisposed to thinking the virus will not affect us, and the more successful a virus containment strategy is, the more likely we are to believe that we are immune," says University of East Anglia researcher Sheheryar Banuri.

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Over 500 Doctors Warn Trump Nationwide Shutdown May Cause 'Millions of Casualties'

Sputnik News  online


"The reason for a lockdown is primarily due to a lack of voluntary compliance with preventative health measures. Because we cannot be sure that people will comply with behavioural guidelines at a large enough scale, a lockdown has become necessary, this is essentially enforced compliance. Until there is confidence in likelihood of compliance to the guidelines for preventative health measures, alleviating the lockdown will surely increase cases and deaths. Whether or not this impact is higher or lower than the impact pointed out in the letter is anyone's guess", Sheheryar Banuri, a behavioral economist and an Associate Professor in the School of Economics at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, tells Sputnik.

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Complying with lockdown does become harder over time – here’s why

The Conversation  online


When the UK became the European country with the highest number of COVID-19 deaths earlier this month, there was renewed criticism of how it had handled the crisis. A common complaint was that it had entered lockdown too late.

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If ministers want people to obey the rules, here is what they need to do

The Telegraph  online


On Sunday May 10th, Boris Johnson set out his plan to return the UK to work. Or rather, he didn’t. Instead, we received a description of a new alert system, built largely upon the terror alert system implemented in the UK in 2005, and largely ignored by the public for most of its life. This system has 5 levels.

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Borrowing to Keep up (with the Joneses): Inequality, Debt, and Conspicuous Consumption | The World Bank


The quest for status is a powerful motivator, but does it affect inequality? This paper presents a novel lab experiment that was designed and conducted to identify the relationship between inequality, status signaling, debt, and conspicuous consumption.

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Love the Job... or the Patient?: Task vs. Mission-Based Motivations in Health Care | IDB Publications (Working Papers)


A booming literature has argued that mission-based motives are a central feature of mission-oriented labor markets. This paper shifts the focus to task-based motivation and finds that it yields significantly more effort than mission-based motivation. Moreover, in the presence of significant task motivation, mission motivation has no additional effect on effort.

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Trust and power as determinants of tax compliance across 44 nations | Journal of Economic Psychology


The slippery slope framework of tax compliance emphasizes the importance of trust in authorities as a substantial determinant of tax compliance alongside traditional enforcement tools like audits and fines. Using data from an experimental scenario study in 44 nations from five continents (N = 14,509), we find that trust in authorities and power of authorities, as defined in the slippery slope framework, increase tax compliance intentions and mitigate intended tax evasion across societies that differ in economic, sociodemographic, political, and cultural backgrounds.

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Encouraging Service Delivery to the Poor: Does Money Talk When Health Workers Are Pro-Poor? | The World Bank


Do service providers respond to pecuniary incentives to serve the poor? Service delivery to the poor is complicated by the extra effort required to deliver services to them and the intrinsic incentives of service providers to exert this effort. Incentive schemes typically fail to account for these complications.

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The use of video vignettes to measure health worker knowledge. Evidence from Burkina Faso | Social Science & Medicine


The quality of care is a crucial determinant of good health outcomes, but is difficult to measure. Survey vignettes are a standard approach to measuring medical knowledge among health care providers. Given that written vignettes or knowledge tests may be too removed from clinical practice, particularly where “learning by doing” may be an important form of training, we developed a new type of provider vignette.

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