An area of research that combines the optimisation approach from economics with psychological insights, enabling a more realistic analysis of how people make decisions, behavioural economics has come a long way over the last half-century, winning mainstream approval.
Today, it is one of the most productive areas of academic research. At least five Nobel prizes in economics given in the 21st century have gone to behavioural economists, including Richard Thaler.
Considered one of the founding fathers of behavioural economics, Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago, inspired scholars across different disciplines and fundamentally changed how we think about human behaviour.
Although it is behavioural economics that is currently gaining prominence in the public domain, Thaler’s work has been instrumental in this respect. The next natural step is to make it one of the tools used in the business world.
Case in point: General Electric’s management wanted to address the issue of smoking, believing it negatively impacted its employees. The company conducted a randomised controlled trial (think: field experiment) wherein employees in the treatment group received $250 if they stopped for six months and $400 for 12 months. Those in the control group did not receive any incentive. The researchers found that the treatment group had three times the success rate of the control and that the effect persisted even after the incentives were discontinued after 12 months. Based on this work, GE changed its policy and started using this approach for its employees.
Applying behavioural economics to management can help uncover ways to limit the impact of biases, understand how customers make decisions, and drive the correct t values.
Here we have curated a list of experts in behavioural economics who are implementing behavioural interventions, insights and evidence-based approaches to inform organisations and improve public policy.
Cameron Knott – Behavioural Economist, Senior Advisor at The Behavioural Insights Team
Cameron Knott is a senior advisor at The Behavioural Insights Team. A seasoned data analyst and policymaker, he delivers data-driven projects with policymakers, having a background in management consulting and social psychology research.
Before joining The Behavioural Insights Team, a global social purpose organisation that generates and applies behavioural insights to inform policy and improve public services, Knott worked as a founding member of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Behavioural Insights Unit. He has worked in the education sector, regulation and transport policy for KPMG’s government advisory practice. He began his career in Grattan Institute’s Higher Education Program.
Knott holds a bachelor’s of science (Psychology) from the Australian National University. Apart from work, Knott volunteers as an election officer, handing out ballots to voters.
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Ceren Koca – Behavioural Economist, Senior Strategy & Insights Lead at Google
Since people’s behaviour strongly influences how services, products and processes are designed and how stakeholders embrace them, Ceren Koca aims to empower organisations to design products and services around core human values. She helps organisations in uplifting consumer behaviour and, in turn, design interventions to bring positive change. Koca has worked across several industries, including government and BFSI, to tackle large scale business and societal problems and sustainability. Prior to joining Google, Koca has worked with PwC, IBM and McGill University.
Dr Danielle Lester – Behavioural Economist, Assistant Professor at Bond University
Dr Danielle Lester has over 20 years of experience in academia and the built environment. Her teaching focuses on critical thinking and communication skills, having taught across the broad spectrum of built environment disciplines — from global real estate markets and investment to construction and engineering management. She was named Top 20 Under 40 Women in Construction in New York City.
Prior to joining Bond University, Lester was an Assistant Professor at the Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Queensland. She is currently researching with the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Artificial Mind (iCAM) and is developing a methodology to investigate interbrain synchronicity to advance the understanding of neuroscience during collaboration.
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Evelina Gunnarsson – Behavioural Economist & Senior Management Consultant at Ramboll Management Consulting
Evelina Gunnarsson is passionate about sustainability and one of Sweden’s leading experts on behavioural insights and public policy. She helps organisations and decision-makers to create sustainable behaviour change. She has worked with several governmental agencies within a wide range of different policy areas, such as labour market and financial decision making. Gunnarsson has organised several courses on behavioural insights for public officials.
Gunnarsson is a member of the Global Association of Applied Behavioural Scientists (GAABS), the world’s first independent organisation representing the interest of applied behavioural scientists. Prior to joining Ramboll Management Consulting, she has worked with Regeringskansliet, Socialdepartementet (Government Offices, Ministry of Social Affairs, Sweden), iNudgeyou, University of Copenhagen and Aspekta. She holds a master’s degree in behavioural economics from the University of Copenhagen.
Junofy Anto Rozarina – Behavioural Economist, Lecturer at University of Zurich
Junofy Anto Rozarina is a lecturer, researcher, public speaker and consultant. She has given training programs and provided behavioural science consultancy to companies such as Google, Migros and UNDP. She regularly delivers lectures in universities around the world.
Rozarina has published two books and more than 35 research papers. She is the founder and CEO of India Behavioural Economics Network, a non-profit promoting behavioural economics in the Indian subcontinent. Earlier, she has worked as a data scientist with the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and as a behavioural economist at BEAST.