Thomas F. Epper
Academic website

About me

I am an applied microeconomist with main research interests in inequality, redistribution, uncertainty and intertemporal choice. My research combines economic theory and quantitative methods with data from large-population experiments, detailed administrative registers, and various markets and institutions. I teach courses on decision theory, information economics, health economics, programming methods, empirical methods and data analytics.




  • Bounded Rationality in Risky Choice over Money and Effort, with Alexander Koch and Julia Nafziger.
    • Keywords: Asset integration, description invariance, reference dependence, choice bracketing.
  • Other-Regarding Preferences and Redistributive Politics, with Ernst Fehr and Julien Senn.
    • working paper (incl. appendix)
    • Keywords: Bayesian nonparametrics, social preference heterogeneity, inequality aversion, altruism, redistribution, voting.
  • Parenting Values and the Intergenerational Transmission of Time Preferences, with Anne Ardila Brenøe.
    • working paper (incl. appendix)
    • Keywords: Parenting style, parental involvement, patience, preference transmission, socio-economic status, family background.
  • The Uncertainty Triangle: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Attitudes Towards Uncertainty, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 60(2), pp.125-156, 2020, with Dan Burghart and Ernst Fehr.
  • Time Discounting and Wealth Inequality, American Economic Review, 110(4), pp.1177-1205, 2020, with Ernst Fehr, Helga Fehr-Duda, Claus Thustrup Kreiner, David Dreyer Lassen, Søren Leth-Petersen and Gregers Nytoft Rasmussen.
  • Risk in Time: The Intertwined Nature of Risk Taking and Time Discounting, revision requested at the Journal of the European Economic Association, with Helga Fehr-Duda.
  • Risk Preferences Are Not Time Preferences: Balancing on a Budget Line: Comment, American Economic Review, 105(7), pp.2261-2271, 2015, with Helga Fehr-Duda.
  • Income Expectations, Limited Liquidity, and Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice.
  • Probability and Risk: Foundations and Economic Implications of Probability-Dependent Risk Preferences, Annual Review of Economics, 4, pp.567-593, 2012, with Helga Fehr-Duda.
  • Viewing the Future through a Warped Lens: Why Uncertainty Generates Hyperbolic Discounting, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 43(3), 169-203, 1022, 2011, with Adrian Bruhin and Helga Fehr-Duda.
  • Risk and Rationality: The Effect of Mood and Decision Rules on Probability Weighting, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 78(1-2), 14-21, 201, 2011, with Adrian Bruhin, Helga Fehr-Duda and Renate Schubert.
    • published version
    • Keywords: Preference stability, risk preferences, mood, emotions.
  • Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion, Econometrica, 78(4), 1375-1412, 2010, with Adrian Bruhin and Helga Fehr-Duda.
    • published version; appendix
    • Keywords: Finite mixture model, risk preference heterogeneity, probability weighting, prospect theory, expected utility theory.
  • Rationality on the Rise; Why Relative Risk Aversion Increases with Stake Size, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 40(2), 147-180, 2010, with Adrian Bruhin, Helga Fehr-Duda and Renate Schubert.


  • Risk, Betrayal, and Inequality: Decomposing the Trust Game, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), 2020, EUR 372,250, with Alexander Cappelen, Bertil Tungodden and Ferdinand Vieider
  • The Role of the Intestinal Microbiome in Explaining Economic Preferences, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Spark grant, Principal investigator (joint with Christian Biener, University of St. Gallen), 2020-2021, CHF 98,300, with Andrew Macpherson (Inselspital Bern, project partner)
  • Identifying Risk and Ambiguity Preferences Free from Context, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Principal investigator (joint with Christian Biener, University of St. Gallen), 2019-2021, CHF 529,787, with Gregers Nytoft Rasmussen (CEBI Copenhagen, project partner)
  • Go For It While You Can, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Principal investigator, 2019-2022, CHF 710,129, with Ferdinand Vieider (Ghent University, co-investigator) and Mohammed Abdellaoui (HEC Paris, project partner)
  • Contextuality in Choice, University of St. Gallen Basic Research Fund, Principal investigator, 2018-2019, CHF 33,903
  • Theorizing on Observables - Experimenting with Axioms, Richard Büchner Foundation, Principal investigator (joint with Philipp Zahn, University of St. Gallen), 2017-2018, CHF 44,400
  • and a number of other projects as a co-investigator or project partner


  • University of Zurich, Ph.D. in Management and Economics, summa cum laude
  • ETH Zurich, Diploma of Advanced Studies in Applied Statistics

Honors and Awards

  • 2020:
    • Financial Times 50 Success Fee, awarded by the University of St. Gallen, CHF 10,000
    • Success fee for acquiring a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) SPARK grant, CHF 24,575
  • 2019:
    • Success fee for acquiring a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) grant, awarded by the University of St. Gallen, CHF 40,000
  • 2018:
    • Success fee for acquiring a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) grant, awarded by the University of St. Gallen, CHF 40,000
  • 2017:
    • Latsis prize of the University of St. Gallen for work on microeconomics, CHF 25,000
  • 2016:
    • Teaching load reduction for Top-Top publications, University of St. Gallen


  • Google Scholar: 1271 citations; h-index: 13; i10-index: 13
  • RePEc IDEAS: Top 8% (last 10 years publications); previously: Top 200 Young Economists worldwide (10 years or less)
  • SSRN: Top 10% authors by total new downloads within the last 12 months


  • 30+ manuscripts for American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Finance, Review of Economic Studies
  • Numerous manuscripts for Nature Communications, American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of European Economic Association, Management Science, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, European Economic Review, Economic Journal, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Journal of Risk and Insurance, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organziation, The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Theory and Decision, Operations Research, and Economics Letters
  • European Research Commission (ERC)


  • Health Economics (St. Gallen)
  • Courses I taught in the past:
    • From Data to Decision (St. Gallen)
    • Data Analytics and Causal Inference (St. Gallen)
    • Experimental Methods and Causal Inference (St. Gallen)
    • Introduction to Programming Methods (St. Gallen)
    • Decision Analysis (Fribourg)
    • Principles of Economic Decision Making (Zurich)
    • Economics of Information (St. Gallen)
    • Microeconomics II (St. Gallen)
    • PhD Seminar in Economics and Finance (St. Gallen)
    • Research Seminar in Behavioral Economics (Zurich)
    • various modules in economics classes (ETH Zurich) and various tutorials (Zurich and St. Gallen)