Dur, Chou slated for Behavioral Insights for Government series

The Behavioral Insights in Government (BIG) series continues this fall with presentations by Robert Dur of Erasmus School of Economics, Netherlands, and Eileen Chou of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.

La Follette School Director and Professor Don Moynihan and Justin Sydnor, an associate professor at the Wisconsin School of Business and director of the Behavioral Research Insights Through Experiments (BRITE) Lab at UW-Madison, launched the BIG pilot series in spring 2017. The Herb Kohl Research Competition and the BRITE Lab provide funding for the series.

The BIG series brings to policymakers the practical lessons from behavioral economics and public administration. Behavioral economics, which applies insights from psychology to better understand the roots of human behavior, is starting to influence the practice of public management. Approximately 25 people from state and local government participated in each lecture during the pilot series.

On October 3, Professor Dur will show how behavioral insights can be used to tackle pressing issues faced by state and local governments around the world. Dur, one of the world’s leading economists in applying behavioral science to practical policy issues, will draw on practical examples from his own work with local governments in the Netherlands, including a series of experiments aimed at reducing littering and dumping waste by citizens.

The research shows how public officials and social scientists successfully worked together to design promising policy interventions and to implement them in such a way that credible evidence on their effects could be gathered. Some of the interventions were very effective, others were failures. Dur will discuss the importance of assessing the impact of policies in a credible way using a broad set of measures.

“Dur is one of the most accomplished behavioral economists in the world,” said Moynihan. “He has partnered with governments to generate practical insights across a range of policy areas. We are honored to welcome him.”

Dur is a professor of economics in the Department of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam and a research fellow of the Tinbergen Institute, CESifo Munich, and IZA Bonn. He has held visiting positions at Bocconi Univerisity, the University of Munich, and the University of Vienna.

Dur’s research interests include personnel economics, organizational economics, and behavioral economics. He works on both theory and empirics. Currently, he is running a series of field experiments with companies and public-sector organizations on pro-social and anti-social behaviour. His work has been published in Economic Journal, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Management Science, and other publications.

Chou, an associate professor of public policy, will speak December 7. Her research focuses on the organizational, social, and psychological forces that shape individual and group behavior in organizational settings.

Both seminars will be held at the Madison Public Library, 201 W. Mifflin Street, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. There will be time for questions and answers, and pizza will be served.