Dr David A. Savage

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BEST Fellow

PhD, Queensland University of Technology

I am a behavioural economist; my research specialisation revolves around the microeconomics of decision-making in extreme or high-risk life and death environments. While this stems from a behavioural economics viewpoint, it extends into the much broader social sciences as evident of my publications across economics, social science, medicine and the hard sciences. These works have included the development of emotions, the long run impact of stress on physical and mental health and the effect of stress on decision-making factors. I seek to marry the behavioural work of the social sciences with the empirical rigour of economics, resulting in multidisciplinary work with a clearer understanding of theory and a stronger empirical basis for the study of the decision-making under extreme environments and pressure. Generating new and important insights into the disaster and behavioural literature, covering the empirical analysis of decision-making, emotions, health and stress in these non-normal environments. I have a keen interest in undertaking field research, especially in relation to decision-making in disasters or extreme environments. I was part of one of the first teams to undertake a field experiment in the wake of a disaster, operating a few weeks after the 2011 Brisbane floods to examine the effect of large real losses on individual decision making (see Page et al., 2014). In 2013 and 2014 I organized and implemented two research trips to the Himalayan Mountains, specifically Namche Bazar on the trail to Mount Everest.

In my pre-academic career, I worked in the mining industry (underground) which has given me a strong appreciation of the role that industry and government play in the development and implementation of successful policy. Towards these ends, I often collaborate across disciplines and with government agencies. Academically, I collaborate with the Science and Engineering Faculty (QUT) and Business School (QUT) to create an innovative new subject in the undergraduate Science curriculum. Additionally, I collaborate with Architecture and Built Environment (UoN) by teaching into the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) program and the Masters of Disaster Resiliency (Disaster Management Economics). I collaborate with the office of the Inspector General of Emergency Management (IGEM) and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and have recently engaged with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA).

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