Economic Prosperity

Defining Problem Statements in the BETA Project

While defining the problem is the first step towards a solution, crafting the right problem statement is inherently difficult. As we mentioned in our last post, a well-crafted problem statement should not be defined too broadly, too narrowly or with hidden presumptions. Here’s how we refined the problem statements at each of our three pilot […]

Helpful Tactics to Define a Problem-The BETA Project

Behavioral economics is, ultimately, about how we think of people. The assumptions we make about people change how we approach problems related to their behavior. If we assume that their actions follow their intentions, we will design programs that attempt to change intentions. If we think that people take an action if they are informed […]

The First Step Towards a Solution: The BETA Project

At each of our pilot sites, the BETA Project uses a four-stage problem-solving process: define, diagnose, design and test. In the coming months, we will highlight interesting findings from our work at each stage over this past year. We’ll start by discussing the define stage, where we attempt to correctly define a problem that can […]

Benefit Cycles and School Disciplinary Events

Imagine having to make a small sum of money last an entire month, ensuring that there is money available at the right time for rent, food, school fees, and other incidentals. Anyone who has tried to get by on a limited budget will know how hard this is; winding up with not quite enough as […]

New Working Paper: Behavioral Design for Development

Behavioral economics’ most successful large-scale impacts have so far been in the developed world, with notable successes including the headway made on getting Americans to save for retirement or the many successes of Britain’s Nudge Unit. But at ideas42, we believe that behavioral economics can also dramatically change the way development programs work (for the […]

Poverty and the Mind: New Research

Of late, ideas42 co-founders Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir and their co-authors (including ideas42 affiliate Anuj Shah) have been looking into a fascinating question: does poverty create additional psychological and cognitive burdens? Is there some way in which poverty makes people take worse decision? The short – and fascinating – answer is: yes. Dave Nussbaum’s blog Random […]

Sendhil Mullainathan Speaks at the World Bank

ideas42 co-founder Sendhil Mullainathan was recently at the World Bank, where he spoke about behavioral design and development. The World Bank’s “All About Finance” blog has a nice summary of the talk. Quite apart from anything else, the post provides a good introduction to what ideas42 is about and why it was founded: “(M)any studies […]

Parenting and Poverty: A Behavioral View

In his conversation with Glenn Loury, Sendhil Mullainathan touched on the stresses of parenting. But how does poverty affect all this? Is there reason to believe that a harried single mother who is also poor will have an even harder time doing the things needed for her child to do well than a harried single […]

ideas42 Event: Behavioral Economics and Consumer Protection

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? These were some of the key questions explored in […]

A Chat About Behavioral Economics

One from the archives: back in 2010, ideas42 co-founder Sendhil Mullainathan and New York University’s Glenn Loury had a wide-ranging discussion about behavioral economics, which you can listen to here. Lots of food for thought in there, including the behavioral economics of the snooze button, why single mothers are like air-traffic controllers, and sundry other […]

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