Carnegie Mellon University

Program Overview

The Executive Program in Behavioral Economics at CMU is designed to help executives and senior management leverage insights from the field of Behavioral Economics to strengthen their brand, engage consumers, improve employee well-being, and institutionalize an evidence-based approach to organizational decision-making and change management. The courses will use research to explore evolving employer-employee relationships as well as digital interactions between businesses and consumers.

Next dates to be announced.

Your program fee includes 3 ½ days of classroom instruction, program materials, and some meals.

Emphasis on Practical Use-Cases

Taught by the world’s leading faculty in Behavioral Economics, the Executive Education program will teach you foundational principles and then quickly transition to real-world applications. For example, you’ll learn about research showing:

  • The surprising influence of digital design on engagement
  • The connections between non-monetary rewards, employee productivity, and customer loyalty
  • How employers can reduce biases in employee financial decisions and improve workplace equality
  • How inexpensive, behaviorally informed, changes to the design of benefit programs can sharply increase employee participation
  • How to design interventions to facilitate organizational change

Throughout the week, you will team-up with faculty to strategize how behavioral science can help to address a specific challenge faced by your organization, and you’ll workshop your findings with the group on the program’s final day.

Evidence-based Solutions

The program will also teach you the basics of data science and the critical importance of evidence-based decision-making. For example, youll learn how to deploy advanced analytics to better understand complex consumer behavior and to institutionalize simple A/B tests to improve organizational outcomes. By the end of the program, you'll have an understanding of how to apply these insights to grow the bottom-line, more engage customers, promote employee well-being, and more.


“Behavioral Economists at SDS have a keen sense for how to turn research insights into creative and practical solutions.”

- Head of Behavioral Finance, Large Financial Services Firm

Program Faculty Leads

linda-babcock.jpgLinda Babcock

Department Head
James M. Walton Professor

Dr. Babcock’s pioneering work has helped to shape our understanding of negotiations and the barriers to gender equity in organizations. This research has been published in leading journals across the fields of Economics, Industrial Relations, Law, Management, and Psychology. Her findings on gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations, and the reactions they elicit from others, is summarized in her book with Sara Laschever, Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide— named by Forbes as one of the 75 smartest business books of all-time. Babcock has consulted for several firms including Accenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, IBM, PwC, and USX.

george-loewenstein.jpgGeorge Loewenstein

Herbert A. Simon
University Professor of Economics and Psychology

Dr. Loewenstein is regarded as one of the founders of the field of Behavioral Economics. His ground-breaking research in emotion, decision-making over time, bargaining and negotiations, conflict of interest and privacy, belief-based utility, and neuroeconomics has led to over 200 published articles in leading journals across the fields of Economics, Law, and Medicine, and Psychology. Loewenstein has advised numerous governmental organizations and firms including Aramark, CVS Caremark, PNC Financial Services, Swiss Re, Humana, McKinsey & Co., and The NPD Group.

Other Carnegie Mellon Faculty

Saurabh Bhargava

saurabh-bhargava.jpgAssociate Professor
Ph.D. in Economics

Dr. Bhargava’s research explores how behavioral science can be applied to improve employee decisions in the context of benefit (401(k), health insurance) and reward programs and to optimize the design of public policy. His work has been covered by the NYT, WSJ, Vox, Bloomberg, and Politico, and he has advised or collaborated with government agencies including the IRS, DOJ, NIH, CDC, GAO, and firms such as AIG, BI Worldwide, Careerbuilder, Discovery Insure, Mercer, PNC, Progressive Insurance, and Voya Financial.

Gretchen Chapman

Ph.D. in Psychology

Dr. Chapman is a recognized expert on harnessing behavioral economics to facilitate healthy behavior. Her landmark study revealed that workplace vaccination rates are increased when employees are automatically scheduled for flu shot appointments, which they can cancel if desired.  She has collaborated with the NY Blood Center, Rutgers Health, and the Office of Evaluation Sciences.

Jeff Galak

jeff-galak.jpgAssociate Professor
Ph.D. in Marketing

Dr. Galak's research focuses on how consumer experiences unfold over time across a variety of consumption contexts. The bulk of Jeff’s research explores how enjoyment of consumables decreases over time and what both consumers and firms can do to slow this decline. Dr. Galak consults with leading companies on behavioral science issues in a variety of industries including CPG, online services/media, automotive, retail, banking, etc.

Danny Oppenheimer

Ph.D. in Psychology

Dr. Oppenheimer studies basic information processing, harnessing an understanding of how people seek out and use information to predict and improve social systems. He has done seminal studies on using psychological insights to predict the stock market, improving educational efficiency, and how to craft more effective charitable appeals. He has collaborated with 3M, IARPA, LaForce, Cramer-Krasselt, as well as a number of legal firms, nonprofits, and educational institutions.

Silvia Saccardo

saccardo-silvia.jpgAssistant Professor
Ph.D. in Management

Dr. Saccardo’s research investigate how to structure incentive programs that promote desirable behavior change, such as exercise, sleep, and pro-social behavior. Further, her research on ethical decision-making explores the factors that lead well-meaning individuals to engage in behaviors such as dishonesty or discrimination. Dr. Saccardo is an affiliate of the UK Behavioural Insights Team and the Behavior Change for Good Initiative.

Previous Attendees

What they are saying:

"This was a fantastic program and I am very grateful for the opportunity to attend it. The office hours were something I hadn't seen before, but it was a fantastic opportunity to have a one-on-one session with faculty members to pick their brains on our individual projects and challenges."

"Learned a lot that I will apply professionally and personally. Very diverse content and very engaging teachers."

"Very engaging content and super relevant to my role/business. Professors were engaging and approachable and generous with their time - it was great to get their feedback and the opportunity to have 1:1 time with them."

"Overall a strong program in an area that has applicability in many domains and industries. Excellent teaching and the techniques can be readily used in my organization."


Behavioral Economics at Carnegie Mellon University

The Department of Social and Decision Sciences (SDS) at Carnegie Mellon University has long been at the forefront of research and teaching in Behavioral Economics, a discipline that integrates perspectives from Economics and Psychology. Faculty at SDS regularly collaborate with corporate, organizational, and government partners to apply insights and methods from Behavioral Economics to address real-world problems. In recent years, these partnerships have spanned a diverse range of industries such as finance, retail, insurance, marketing, health care, pharmaceuticals, transportation, and consulting.