Event: Behavioral Insights in Action -Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Event: Behavioral Insights in Action

Renowned Behavioral Economist George Loewenstein to Give Keynote on The NEW New Economics of Information

Carnegie Mellon University has launched the first-of-its-kind behavioral economics, policy and organizations (BEPO) major.

To celebrate BEPO and showcase the work of CMU’s faculty, students and alumni in the field, the Department of Social and Decision Sciences will host "Behavioral Insights in Action," an afternoon of panel sessions and networking activities on Friday, Feb. 3 in Hamburg Hall 1214. The event will also feature experts from government organizations such as the World Bank and the Lab @ DC and companies like Disney and Voya Financial talking about how they use insights from behavioral economics and psychology in their organizations.

Renowned behavioral economist and CMU Professor George Loewenstein will give a keynote talk on "The NEW New Economics of Information." Loewenstein will present findings from new lines of research, much of it conducted with students and colleagues in Social and Decision Sciences, all dealing with the psychology and economics of information, and all of it challenging traditional economic accounts of how people deal with information. In some cases, motivated by curiosity, people seek out information that has no value for decision making. In other situations, if it threatens to be painful, people avoid information that could inform decisions. And, rather than updating their beliefs rationally, people often defend their beliefs as they would defend material possessions.

"This event is to give CMU undergraduate students an opportunity to see how insights from behavioral economics and behavioral science is being used to develop public policy and help businesses operate more effectively," said Linda Babcock, head of the Social and Decision Sciences Department and the James M. Walton Professor of Economics.

Babcock continued, "Students will hear from policy analysts and industry experts on how these insights are being used in their organizations and students will get the opportunity to meet with these experts. CMU faculty, students, and alumni will also present their work that involves partnering with organizations such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Trade Commission."

The full schedule of events is below. All sessions are free and open to the public. However, due to limited space, registration is required. RSVPs will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

Behavioral Insights in Action

Friday, Feb. 3, 2017
Hamburg Hall 1214 (Unless otherwise noted)

11:30 a.m. Welcome and Lunch (Heinz Rotunda)

12:15 p.m. Behavioral Science Applications in Industry

45 minutes of quick-blitz talks, followed by 30 minutes of networking activities with the experts:

Moderator: George Loewenstein

Rick Mason, Senior Advisor at Voya Financial
Digital choice architecture; retiring savings enrollment

Tim Houlihan, Vice President of Reward Systems at BI WORLDWIDE
Goals, incentives, and employee engagement

Maarten Bos, Senior Research Scientist at Disney
Personalization at Disney scale, using machine learning methods

Peter Kriss (DC’12), Lead Research Scientist at Medallia and Co-founder and Partner of Macroclimate
Innovation and experimentation at scale

Alex Imas, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Helping financial traders avoid common behavioral biases such as loss chasing

Saurabh Bhargava, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Identifying and removing psychological barriers to employee savings

Silvia Saccardo, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Attracting new customers to a clothing retailer, Luxury Garage Sale

Department of Social and Decision Sciences Graduate Students’ experiences with internships:
Rich Truncellito — Google
Talya Lazerus — AirBnB
David Hagmann — Irrational Labs

1:30 p.m. Break

1:45 p.m. Interview: Behavioral Science in Action in Government

Moderator: Saurabh Bhargava
Speakers:
David Yokum, Director of The Lab @ DC
Julian Jamison, Senior Behavioral Economist of the Global INsights Initiative, The World Bank

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Behavioral Science Applications in Government and Public Policy

30 minutes of quick-blitz talks, followed by 30 minutes of networking activities with the experts:

Moderator: Julie Downs

Silvia Saccardo, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Partnership with UK Behavioral Insights Team to increase numeracy and literacy of parents

Saurabh Bhargava, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Field experiments with the IRS to reduce poverty

George Loewenstein, Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Helping the Federal Trade Commission prosecute payday lenders

Linda Babcock, Head of the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, James M. Walton Professor of Economics
Helping the White House take action to reduce gender discrimination

Julie Downs, Associate Professor of Social and Decision Sciences
Reducing teen pregnancy and STIs

Michael Rosenberg, Economics and Mathematical Sciences Undergraduate Major at CMU
Gender discrimination in online forums

Christina Fong, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Social and Decision Sciences
How employers discriminate using Facebook

Social and Decision Sciences Graduate Student experience with Internships:
Ania Jaroszewicz, The Federal Trade Commission
The importance of defaults and demographics in consumer protection

4:00 p.m. Break

4:15 p.m. Keynote: The NEW New Economics of Information (HH 1204)

CMU’s George Loewenstein is considered a co-founder of the behavioral economics field and is a renowned expert in a wide range of subjects, including decision making over time, bargaining and negotiations, psychology and health, law and economics, the psychology of adaptation, the role of emotion in decision making, the psychology of curiosity, conflict of interest and "out of control" behaviors such as impulsive violent crime and drug addiction. He will present findings from new lines of research dealing with the psychology and economics of information, and all of it challenging traditional economic accounts of how people deal with information.

5:15 p.m. Reception (Heinz Rotunda)

To register for any or all sessions, click here »

Learn more about CMU’s major in behavioral economics, policy and organizations »

View the poster for Behavioral Insights in Action »

View the poster for The NEW New Economics of Information »

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By Shilo Rea