Congress established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July 2011 with the goal of promoting accountability, fairness, and transparency in the financial industry. The CFPB works to provide consumers with honest, accessible information about financial regulations and to help them understand their own relationships with financial institutions as mortgagers, credit card providers, and investment banks.

ideas42 held an advanced behavioral economics masterclass for key members of the CFPB at its headquarters in Washington, DC on May 30 and 31, 2012. This interactive workshop was designed to bring together world-class behavioral researchers and leading consumer protection policy-makers to explore fundamental consumer protection topics through the lens of behavioral economics.In particular the agenda was designed to yield practical insights on questions that are central to consumer protection and financial capability policy: How should findings about discipline and self-control shape policies to prevent over-indebtedness? How should the ways people learn and retain knowledge shape financial education programs? What are the best ways to disclose product costs and terms in a way that is relevant to consumers’ daily lives?

Presenters included Sendhil Mullainathan, Antoinette Schoar, Eldar Shafir, Piyush Tantia, and Josh Wright of ideas42, as well as David Laibson and John Campbell of Harvard University.