The Choice Modelling Centre (CMC) is a large cross-disciplinary grouping of leading academics working in choice modelling. CMC aims to bring together expertise from all key disciplines and create an environment of collaboration by breaking down traditional barriers. It aims to be a one stop shop for conducting state-of-the-art theoretical research, making a step change in applied work, leading the way in postgraduate study, and providing world class teaching and continuing professional development.
CMC brings together strong expertise in choice modelling from different faculties in the University of Leeds, notably the Institute for Transport Studies, the Leeds University Business School, the School of Earth and Environment and the Academic Unit of Health Economics.
Our research covers new methodological developments, theoretical insights and practical solutions to real world problems. We work both in modelling choices and the development of surveys and techniques for capturing data on choices. We are active across numerous thematic areas, including but not limited to transport, health, energy and business/marketing.
Why choice modelling?
Day to day human activity is characterised by decisions on activities and consumption. These decisions have direct impacts on the demand for services and products/goods and the use of public infrastructure. Making appropriate provision for that demand is a requirement for the efficient functioning of society and a key concern for governments as well as industry. Many decisions relating to services, products, infrastructure or regulation have important financial, environmental and societal implications and need to be based on an understanding of consumer preferences and accurate demand forecasts.
Against this backdrop, mathematical models of choice behaviour are used around the world to produce estimates of valuations of service or product components and make forecasts of future consumer demand and their outputs are routinely used in cost-benefit analyses of major new infrastructure developments. Choice modelling techniques established themselves as a key approach in economics mainly after the ground-breaking work of Dan McFadden for which he was eventually awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000. They are now used across fields as diverse as transport, health economics and marketing, and form the backbone of the toolkit for producing guidance for policy makers and industry on both welfare analysis and demand forecasts. They are also a key tool in behavioural research.
Why a centre?
Academic expertise in choice modelling can be found in university departments around the world. With rare exceptions, this is however typically in the form of just a handful of academics working together in a specific discipline. The recent success of the Journal of Choice Modelling and the International Choice Modelling Conference has highlighted the benefits of cross-fertilisation across disciplines as well as a desire by leading researchers to work across traditional boundaries.
The University of Leeds (UoL) is one of the largest and most research active universities in the United Kingdom. It has also been at the forefront of choice modelling research for several decades, especially in transport. There are existing skills in choice modelling across numerous university departments, and a number of recent large grants have created extensive opportunities for new growth.