Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

chou eileen crop 2x3Thursday, December 7, 2017, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The Psychological and Behavioral Effects of E-Signatures on Individual Decision-Making
Eileen Chou, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia
Madison Public Library, 3rd floor, 201 W. Mifflin Street - view presentation 

People cherish the symbolic value of their unique hand signature. However, technological advances have led organizations to reject traditional signatures in favor of the efficiency and convenience of e-signatures.

In this Behavioral Insights for Government (BIG) presentation, Eileen Chou will review her research on the role of signatures in public policy. She examines the possibility that e-signatures do not exert the same symbolic weight for people's behavior, exposing a potentially critical, and largely overlooked, problem in public policy uses of e-signatures.

Chou provides evidence that different types of e-signatures have different effects on curbing dishonest behaviors and securing prosocial commitments.

Chou is a social psychologist at the University of Virginia's Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. She holds a doctorate in management and organization from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Her research also discusses how fiscal stress and inequality are related to physical stress, and how social environments generate risk-taking behavior.

Dur PHS 7437 cropped 2x3Tuesday, October 3, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Field Experiments to Learn about Behavior and Improve Public Policies
Robert Dur, Erasmus School of Economics, Netherlands
Madison Public Library, 201 W. Mifflin Street - view presentation

Professor Robert Dur, one of the world's leading economists in applying behavioral science to practical policy issues, will show how behavioral insights can be used to tackle pressing issues faced by state and local governments around the world.

Dur 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 La Follette School Director and Professor Don 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. 

Linos Elizabeth 231 px

Tuesday, March 7, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Behavioral Insights for Government: Lessons from the U.S. and the U.K.
Elizabeth Linos, PhD, vice president and head of research and evaluation, The Behavioural Insights Team North America
City County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room 351 - View presentation

How can behavioral science be used to improve government outcomes? Elizabeth Linos talks about her practical experience in using experiments to improve public sector performance in the United Kingdom and United States.

Linos' research centers on how to improve government performance, with a specific focus on recruiting, retaining, and motivating public servants. She has led a series of projects on city-level innovation as part of the "What Works Cities" initiative as well as organizational behavior projects with police officers, teachers, social workers, and other civil servants.

Linos, who holds a doctorate in public policy from Harvard University, is vice president and head of research and evaluation at BIT North America. She previously worked as a policy adviser to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and in research and design with the Poverty Action Lab in Bangladesh, France, and Morocco.

james oliver 231pxWednesday, April 5, noon to 1 p.m. 

How do Citizens Use Performance Data? Evidence from the UK
Oliver James, PhD, professor of political science, University of Exeter, UK
City County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room 354 - View presentation

Oliver James will share his research on how citizens and service-users understand and react to performance data about their government, especially to inform political voice and user choice of public services. Evidence from the United Kingdom and internationally reveals that the narrow rational information-processing perspective is inadequate.

A series of survey and field experiments show that citizens do pay attention to public performance data; although, citizens' cognitive processing, context, and political identities affect how data is accessed and used.

Citizens blame public managers and politicians much more in response to information about below-average performance than they give credit in response to information about positive performance. Agency self-reports of good performance also tend to be less credible than independent sources.

Resigning performance information systems with these factors in mind is needed to bring about the hoped-for improvements in performance that rational models predict from better public availability of information.

James completed his doctorate at the London School of Economics, University of London. 

Guszcza Jim 231 pxTuesday, April 18, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Combining Data and Behavioral Science for Smarter Public Sector Decisions
Jim Guszcza, PhD, U.S. chief data scientist, Deloitte Consulting
Madison Public Library, 3rd floor - View presentation

Data-driven decision making (“playing Moneyball”) and choice architecture (“Nudge”) are different ways of enabling smarter decisions and choices. However, the two approaches are typically discussed in isolation, providing few clues about how they can complement one another in practice.

A former Wisconsin School of Business faculty member, Guszcza will sketch a framework in which data science and applied behavioral science are two parts of a greater whole. Case studies (realized, in-progress, and hypothetical) in child support, unemployment insurance, and return to work domains will be discussed to illustrate the framework.

Guszcza, who has a doctorate in the philosophy of science from the University of Chicago, has extensive experience applying predictive analytics techniques in a variety of public- and private-sector domains. He has also spearheaded Deloitte’s use of behavioral nudge tactics to more effectively act on model indications and prompt behavior change.

In January 2017, Guszcza participated in the Institute for Research on Poverty's seminar series, when he spoke about Linking Data Science and Behavioral Science to Build Better Poverty Policy with Wisconsin School of Business Associate Professor Justin Sydnor. Watch the presentation online