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PhD in Economics - Nutritional literacy and health behaviour

Cardiff Business School

Cardiff United Kingdom Econometrics Financial Economics Health Informatics Macroeconomics Microeconomics Economics Political Economics Public Policy Socio Economics

About the Project

Cardiff Business School invites applications from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, and appropriate Master’s degree with an average mark of at least 65%. Applications can also be considered from holders of a first-class undergraduate degree in Economics or similar subject with significant economic content.

The University value diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. 

The successful candidate will be enrolled on the PhD in Economics at Cardiff Business School.

Please visit here for further information about the PhD Programme and research environment at Cardiff Business School.

Applicant profile

The ideal candidate for this project will have a Masters Degree in Economics from an internationally renowned University. Applicants with a strong first degree in Economics will also be considered. Previous experience and skills in the analysis of large scale data e.g. knowledge of STATA would be an advantage.

Project Description:

Nutrition behaviour is one of the key determinants of individual health, and it has important indirect consequences on several economic outcomes. Healthy nutrition in childhood and adolescence has been shown to have a key impact on several dimensions of future health, wellbeing, and school performance. Economic literature also shows nutrition to determine health conditions in adulthood, and to affect job choices and income profiles. Health capital is accumulated during the life-cycle and involves intertemporal choices subject to frictions and behavioural biases. Therefore, intertemporal decision-making is the natural framework to analyse nutritional choices in different phases of the life-cycle.

From a policy perspective, interventions to improve children and adults’ health have two main implications. First, healthy children will be healthy future adults and elderly, reducing future public expenditure in the health sector. Obesity and health problems related to nutrition are a relevant risk factor for several types of diseases. This issue recently received policy attention relating to the Covid-19 emergency. Second, previous literature showed unhealthy behaviour to be concentrated in low-income and disadvantaged socio-economic groups. Promoting healthy behaviour may, thus, play a role to mitigate socio-economic inequalities.

The first purpose of this project is to illustrate nutrition behaviour, to investigate its determinants and to examine its heterogeneity, focusing, in particular, on disadvantaged groups. To this goal, the UK datasets can be explored. A second more ambitious goal is to gather information about individual knowledge regarding basic nutritional concepts and examine the extent to which “nutritional literacy” reflects into diet habits and, in turn, into individual health. We are also interested in studying the impact of policy interventions aimed to convey information on nutritional issues and advice on healthy diet habits.

Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project, and may wish to contact the named member of staff for a discussion prior to applying.

·      The Lead supervisor on this project is, Dr Serena Trucchi,

Funding Notes

Applications are open until 31st May 2021, however if sufficient applications are received we reserve the right to close the application early.
This project is not funded, applications from self-funded students are welcome. Outstanding applicants may be considered for one of the available University scholarships. The start date is 1st October 2021.
For more information about scholarships, entry requirements and application process please visit our website: View Website


When applying, please specify the project title and supervisor of this project and whether you are self-funded or are applying for funding (within or external to the University).
The application must contain the following documents:
1. Covering letter: The covering letter must name the project being applied for and should be addressed to the supervisor. It must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff University; your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study; and your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied. The covering letter should be no more than two pages.
2. Academic / Professional Qualifications: Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).
3. References: All applications require two academic references to be submitted in support. Candidates must approach referees themselves and include the references with their application.
4. Curriculum Vitae: This should be no longer than two pages.
5. Research Proposal: The proposal should build directly on the project description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:
• Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;
• An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;
• Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;
• A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);
• Bibliographic references
This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team (

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