Occasional CEE Seminar: Varun Gauri

Occasional CEE Seminar

22 May 2015, at 15:00

Rectorate Conference Hall

Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

Varun Gauri, World Bank

Mind, Society and Behaviour


Policymakers are increasingly turning to the behavioral sciences to tackle intractable policy challenges, including increasing student learning, raising savings rates, promoting energy and resource conservation, increasing productivity, improving sanitation practices, strengthening institutions, and reducing corruption. Behaviorally informed policy emphasizes the importance of context for decision making and behavior. It examines a wide set of influences, paying attention to the social, psychological, and economic factors that affect what people think and do. It addresses details in bureaucracies, technologies, and service delivery that are often overlooked in standard policy design but that dramatically influence the effectiveness of development programs and projects, especially in low-income contexts. Behaviorally informed policy can provide creative solutions to difficult challenges, often at low cost. Finally, it helps policy makers themselves avoid some of the decision traps and biases that affect all individuals. The Mind, Behavior, and Development Unit (eMBeD), the World Bank’s behavioral sciences team, works closely with project teams, governments, and other partners to diagnose, design, and evaluate behaviorally informed interventions. By collaborating with a worldwide network of scientists and practitioners, the eMBeD team provides answers to important economic and social questions, and contributes to the global effort to eliminate poverty and increase equity.