On Thursday, January 14, over 60 HKS alums and guests gathered in downtown DC for breakfast and to learn how insights from the behavioral sciences are creating more effective public policies. The audience included MPP, MPA, and EE alumni from the last four decades!
DC Alumni Council President Steve Powell introduced HKS Professor Brigette Madrian, the featured speaker who heads a new Executive Education program on behavioral insights and public policy. An economist, Dr. Madrian's current research focuses on behavioral economics with a focus on household finance and health.
Dr. Madrian and other HKS faculty members are exploring how social sciences like economics and psychology drive individual behavior. Using examples from household finance, energy use, education and health, Dr. Madrian illustrated how policies designed with an understanding of how people actually behave rather than how they should behave (in a traditional rational-actor model), can achieve better outcomes.
She highlighted the Executive Order from September 2015, where President Obama directed behavioral science insights to “design government policies to better serve the American people.” Dr. Madrian noted that the private sector, particularly the advertising industry, has long used behavioral science insights to effectively market products and services.
This breakfast event was co-sponsored by the HKS DC Alumni Council and the HKS Executive Education Program. The Hispanic Heritage Foundation provided the beautiful venue. We are grateful to HHF President and CEO Tony Tijerino and his staff for their gracious support. Ellen Stiefvater, Nancy Bearg, Jayme Johnson and Lourdes Tinajero coordinated the event for the Alumni Council.
Applying Behavioral Insights to the Design of Public Policy, the new HKS Executive Education module, will be offered for the first time in fall 2016.