Behavioral Economics for Organizations

This course uses insights from behavioral economics to promote organizational health. Getting and staying healthy includes preventing undesirable events from happening, detecting issues when they arise and mitigating against the consequences as they occur. To promote healthy behaviors, organizations typically rely on "soft" instruments such as awareness raising and appeals through training programs and information sharing, or "hard" instruments such as command-and-control through rules, carrots and sticks. This course argues that behavioral design or "nudges" offer a middle ground to establish healthy behaviors, often more powerful than awareness raising and less costly than shoves.

In two design-a-thons, we will design nudges promoting desired behaviors regarding inclusive talent management and ethical compliance management. The two applications represent "want-should" dilemmas, where people know what they should be doing but then, do not get around to doing it. The course emphasizes evidence-based reasoning. Students will learn how to diagnose the "behavioral health" of an organization, design potential treatments for what is broken, and rigorously evaluate their impact, using big data analytics and experimentation.

Additional Information

Faculty: Iris Bohnet
Time: Mon, 4:15 - 7:00pm
Course website
Cross-Listed MLD-310 at Harvard Kennedy School