The 2018 Tietgen Award goes to Mette Trier Damgaard

On 21 November, Assistant Professor Mette Trier Damgaard from the Department of Economics and Business Economics received this year’s Tietgen Award for her internationally recognised research into nudging. Research which according to the award committee is highly relevant to public as well as private organisations.

2018.11.22 | Mia Ulvgraven Nielsen

Photo: Phillip Ørneborg

Behavioural economics and nudging are at the core of Mette Trier Damgaard’s research, and her results have led to her winning this year’s honorary Tietgen Award presented by the Danish Society for Education and Business (DSEB). In the official announcement, DSEB states that:

“The award committee finds that Mette’s critical approach to the use of nudging is extremely relevant and necessary for the future development of the concept. Mette’s research has documented that nudging effects are highly contextual and that we need to explore their short and long-term effects to get a comprehensive picture of these nudging policies - despite their low implementation costs and significant direct short-term effects.”

“The award committee also noted Mette’s impressive list of international publications with numerous citations. In addition, the award committee emphasises Mette’s popular research communication. This includes presenting her research to the business community, government officials and other practitioners, disseminating her research in various media outlets and contributing to a number of reports on behavioural economics that are used by organisations such as the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority and the European Commission,” writes the award committee. The committee also emphasises that Mette Trier Damgaard contributes with knowledge that is relevant to public and private organisations due to a growing interest in nudging and an increasing number of political initiatives in the field. 

The 2018 Tietgen Award and the DKK 500,000 that come with the award will be shared between Sebastian Felix Schwemer from the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen and Mette Trier Damgaard, assistant professor at the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus BSS.

“It’s a great recognition, so of course I’m very honoured. And surprised. It comes at an early stage of my career,” says Mette Trier Damgaard, who completed her PhD degree in economics from Aarhus University in 2016. For the past two years, she has not just conducted research, but has also been on maternity leave.

Money towards research stay in the US

Mette Trier Damgaard is currently researching the nudging effect of the Master's thesis contracts that were introduced in Denmark in 2007 due to a political wish to shorten the students’ degree completion time.

The Master's thesis contracts commit the students to completing their Master's thesis within six months after signing the contract. But has the initiative actually led to behavioural changes and reduced the amount of time that students spend on their Master’s thesis? Or do students simply wait to sign the thesis contracts until they know they can finish their thesis before the deadline?

These are the questions that Mette Trier Damgaard is currently exploring together with a research colleague from Chicago. Part of the DKK 250,000 that come with the award will go towards a research stay in the same city.

“The money allows me to do things that enable me to continue my research at a high level. Going to Chicago is expensive. Especially when you have to bring your whole family. But this money makes it possible,” says Mette Trier Damgaard. 

Head of Department Niels Haldrup agrees with the award committee that Mette Trier Damgaard’s research is admirable and useful to the business community as well as to society as a whole.

“Mette Trier Damgaard is a highly appropriate choice for the Tietgen Award. Mette is a very ambitious and talented young researcher whose research combines psychological mechanisms with economic models to offer a more realistic description of the behaviour of companies and individuals,” says Niels Haldrup, head of the Department of Economics and Business Economics.

Facts about the Tietgen Award

Every year, the Danish Society for Education and Business (DSEB) presents the Tietgen Award of DKK 500,000. The award is granted in recognition of a significant contribution to research in the field of business-oriented humanities and social science on the part of young researchers whose research is of benefit to the Danish business community. If two applicants are considered equally eligible for the award, it can be shared. All awards are accompanied by the Tietgen Gold Medal.