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Past Event

The power of the nudge: Policy lessons from behavioral economics

Past Event

The power of the nudge: Policy lessons from behavioral economics

Research is proliferating in behavioral economics, a field at the intersection of psychology and economics which tries to study how people actually behave, as opposed to the way they are assumed to behave in economists’ abstract models. This work has developed new and effective policies across many areas, from encouraging people to save for retirement to discouraging them from smoking.

On September 18, the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings explored lessons from behavioral economics for fiscal and monetary policy with leading scholars in the field, who shared their findings and suggestions for policy.

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Raj Chetty

William A. Ackman Professor of Economics - Harvard University

Director - Opportunity Insights

Panel 1: Labor Supply & Tax

Download panelists’ materials:

  • Naomi Feldman: Taxpayer Confusion: Evidence from the Child Tax Credit slides; paper
  • Olivia Mitchell: Will They Take the Money and Work? An Empirical Analysis of People’s Willingness to Delay Claiming Social Security Benefits for a Lump Sum paper
  • Johannes Schmieder: Reference Dependent Job Search: Evidence from Hungary slides; paper



Olivia S. Mitchell

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor - The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Naomi Feldman

Economist, Fiscal Analysis Section, Research and Statistics - Federal Reserve Board


Maya Shankar

Senior Advisor for the Social and Behavioral Sciences - Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

Panel 2: Credit & Saving

Download panelists’ materials:

  • David Laibson: 401(k)s can partially solve two more policy problems slides
  • Antoinette Schoar: Investor biases and the role of financial advisors slides

Antoinette Schoar

Stewart C. Myers-Horn Family Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship - MIT Sloan School of Management

Panel 3: Health

Download panelists’ materials:

  • Saurabh Bhargava: Health insurance and the affliction of choice slidesDo individuals make sensible health insurance decisions? Evidence from a menu with dominated options paper; Behavioral Economics and Public Policy 102: Beyond Nudging paper
  • Kevin Volpp: Behavioral economics and health behaviors slides

Peter R. Orszag

Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, Managing Director, and Global Co-Head of Healthcare - Lazard

Kevin Volpp

Professor of Medicine and Health Care Management - Wharton, University of Pennsylvania

Saurabh Bhargava

Assistant Professor of Economics, Social and Decision Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Final Discussion Panel

Ted Gayer

President - Niskanen Center

Former Executive Vice President - The Brookings Institution

David Yokum

Social and Behavioral Sciences Team - The White House

More Information

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