Jenny-RobertsJennifer Roberts

Professor of Economics

Room 518
Tel +44 114 222 3403
Fax +44 114 222 3458


Jenny studied Social Sciences (Economics) at Bristol Polytechnic, graduating in 1987. She gained an MSc (1988) and a PhD (1993) in Economics from the University of Leeds and was appointed Lecturer in Economics at the University of Leeds in 1990. She moved to the University of Sheffield in that role in 1994.

In 1997 Jenny took up a lectureship in health economics at the School for Health and Related Research (ScHARR) here in Sheffield, being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2001 and Reader in 2003. In 2004 Jenny joined the Department of Economics as Professor. Recently she spent a brief period as a Professor of Health Economics at the University of Leeds, but returned to Sheffield in 2011.

Jenny is a director of the Institute for Economic Analysis of Decision-making (InstEAD). She is also an associate editor of the Wiley journal Health Economics, a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and an external affiliate of the Health Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) at the University of York.



"I currently teach first year microeconomics (ECN107), a new second year module called The Economics of Social Issues (ECN221) and a third year option called The Economics of Wellbeing (ECN221). In all of these courses I try to illustrate economic theory with real-world examples. I also use pictures a lot in my presentations, not just for entertainment value, but also because there is good evidence that as a learning tool we recall pictures more readily than words.

"As my research interests include behavioural economics (using ideas from psychology to more fully understand economic decision making), I have introduced these ideas into my teaching. This contrasts homo economicus (the fully informed, rational, utility-maximising individual) with homo sapiens (human beings who exhibit systematic errors in decision making such as time inconsistency, loss aversion and susceptibility to framing effects). In lectures we consider our real-world experiences of making these type of errors: for example, the common experience of procrastination, or the extra 'transaction utility' we experience when we feel that we have 'got a bargain'."


Research summary and PhD student supervision

Jenny's research interests centre on applied microeconometrics, particularly the interaction of health and labour market outcomes, health-related behaviours, health valuation, the economics of well-being and travel behaviours. She is currently leading a large, innovative, EPSRC-funded project, 'Reflect: Experienced utility and travel behaviour, a feasibility study', which uses smartphones to gather real-time data on commuting experiences, and to feed this back to them in various ways. The ultimate aim is to influence travel behaviour by encouraging people to reflect on their experience and those of other people.

Jenny is interested in supervising PhD students in applied microeconometrics, especially those with topics that are in line with the research interests described here.

Publications since 2008