PhD student "Effects of economic inequality on cooperation and conflict between groups

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 18 Dec 2023

Apply now

PhD student (full-time, 4 years) “Effects of economic inequality on cooperation and conflict between groups”

Applications are invited for a fully funded 4 year PhD position at the Institute of Psychology; Social, Economic and Organizational Psychology at Leiden University. The PhD-project will be supervised by Dr. Leticia Micheli and Dr. Angelo Romano.

The candidate is expected to have a strong academic background and interest in working on projects related to economic inequality and intergroup behavior (see project description below).

Project Description
The last decades have been marked by a substantial increase in economic inequality in several countries across the globe. High levels of economic inequality have been associated with several negative outcomes for individuals and societies. More recently, research has started to show that economic inequality can also affect how people navigate social interactions, for example how competitive or cooperative they are towards each other.

The way individuals interact with each other, for example by choosing to interact or cooperate more with those who have more economic resources, might end up intensifying local levels of inequality, discrimination and conflict. Hence, a better understanding of when and how inequality promotes prosocial or antisocial behavior within and between groups is important for a well-functioning and cohesive society.

The current project aims to investigate (i) the effects of economic inequality on intergroup cooperation and competition, and (ii) how inequality affects intergroup conflict and cooperation across societies. We will develop a series of laboratory and online experiments using economic games to investigate the impact of economic inequality on cooperation and competition within and between groups. The gained insights will be used to inform theory and contribute to policies aiming to decrease inequality and counteract its negative effects for individuals, groups and societies.

Key Words
Economic inequality; Status; Cooperation; Competition; Conflict; Intergroup behavior

The role of PhD student includes the following tasks:

  • Conducting literature reviews;
  • Designing, programing, executing and coordinating laboratory and online data collection;
  • Designing, managing, and implementing a cross-cultural study;
  • Analyzing and interpreting the data;
  • Writing academic papers with the outcomes of the research;
  • Presenting the research in national and international conferences.

Job Requirements

  • A completed (or almost completed) (research) master in psychology / neuroscience /behavioral economics (or related field);
  • Experience and affinity with quantitative research methods (e.g., lab and online experiments) and economic games.
  • Good programming and data analysis skills (R, o-Tree, Python, etc);
  • Professional attitude and conduct that includes organizational sensitivity, integrity, pragmatism, and good communication skills;
  • Being organised and decisive;
  • Able to work independently and in a team;
  • Excellent command of English;
  • Experience with open science practices is advantageous.

Our organization
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises five institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The Faculty is home to 7,000 students and 1025 members of staff. Our teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. For more information, see .

The Institute of Psychology comprises six units for teaching and research: Health, Medical and Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Social, Economic and Organizational Psychology, and Methodology and Statistics. The Institute of Psychology offers a stimulating environment that promotes collaboration within and between units. For more information, see

Terms and conditions

  • Initial period of employment in this position is for 1 year. This may be extended if the employee performs well; Maximum extension for PhD candidates is 3 years (i.e., total of four years).
  • The gross monthly salary is set on €2.770 in the first year, increasing to €3.539 gross per month in the final year (based on a full-time employment);
  • Preferred starting date: 1 January 2024 (later starter dates also possible).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Inquiries can be directed to Leticia Micheli or Angelo Romano, Leiden University ([email protected] ; [email protected]) .

Applications (specifying the vacancy number), including a motivation letter (max 2 pages), a full CV, contact information of two references (reference letters are not needed at this point), can be submitted via our online recruitment system before December 19th. In your motivation letter, please make sure to mention (i) what you have investigated so far, and (ii) how this experience has prepared you for this project. Please also include the contact information of two references in your letter. The interviews are expected to take place in the week of January 8th.

Apply now

Similar Positions