Portrait image for M. Kathleen Ngangoué

M. Kathleen Ngangoué

Assistant Professor of Global Economics and Management
“The key to being successful in markets is understanding how people think. Economic decisions are not always made by rational people; in reality, factors like emotions, attention and cognitive skills may also affect how well an organization, a market or an economy functions.”
Areas of Expertise:
  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Behavioral Finance
  • Experimental Economics


Kathleen Ngangoué’s main areas of study are experimental, behavioral and information economics. Her research focuses on belief formation and decision making under uncertainty, and draws insights from psychology and neuroeconomics. “It’s fascinating how people sometimes excel at intuitively solving complex problems, while sometimes failing to make simple economic decisions,” she says. 

Ngangoué is particularly interested in the interaction between markets and bounded rationality or non-standard preferences. In her most recent work, she analyzes why people make different decisions when uncertainty is defined over different objects. “For instance, my co-author and I find that, in auctions, bidders stop overbidding when uncertainty is defined over probabilities rather than over values,” Ngangoué says. “This is because their ability to reason strategically differs when they reflect about probabilities. Similar differences are observed when people reflect about time: How they prefer to resolve uncertainty over time depends on what is uncertain. That is, people react very differently to various objects of uncertainties, even if they shouldn’t.”

Raised in the Republic of the Congo and in Germany, Ngangoué joined the UCLA Anderson School of Management from New York University, where she was a visiting assistant professor of economics at the Center for Experimental Social Science. Before that, she was a visiting fellow at University College London, and obtained her Ph.D. at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. As a member of the research committee of the Pan-African Research Council, she also seeks to promote African research excellence.


Ph.D. Business, Economics and Social Sciences, 2017, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and DIW Berlin

Diploma Economics, 2010, Technical University Berlin

Published and Forthcoming Articles 

“Learning from unrealized versus realized prices” (with Georg Weizsäcker), American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 2021, 13(2): 174–201
Earlier version: DIW Discussion Paper 1487, 2015.

“Learning under ambiguity: an experiment in gradual information processing,”
Journal of Economic Theory 195 (2021), 105282.

Working Papers

“The Common-Probability Auction Puzzle” (with Andrew Schotter), 2019.
Revise & resubmit, American Economic Review.

Work in Progress

Price Dispersion and Unobserved Competition (with Boyan Jovanovic)

Deal or No Deal (with Eungik Lee and Andrew Schotter)

Social Choice under Uncertainty (with Eric Bahel)

Other Publications & Media
“Sehen, um zu verstehen: Preiskenntnis fördert rationale Investitionsentscheidungen.” DIW
Wochenbericht 34/2015.

Interview on information neglect in financial markets in “Nachgeforscht” series, DIW Berlin.