At the heart of many of societies’ greatest challenges lie suboptimal economic decisions. The behavioral changes required to address these societal challenges can be facilitated by adequate corrective policies.
Our UM Behavioral Insights Center (UM-BIC) is a research community of more than 40 scholars who employ and develop insights into behavioral regularities to enhance the effectiveness of public policy and company practice, addressing a broad range of societal challenges in the fields of Sustainable Development, Digitalisation and Globalisation.
Our centre builds on the former 'Human Decisions and Policy Design' research theme at our School of Business and Economics. Our goal is to be a leading information source and contact point in the area of Behavioral Policy Design.
Research within UM-BIC is organised in three thematic clusters that closely relate to the focal research areas of SBE, Sustainable Development, Digitalisation and Globalisation.
UM-BIC's three thematic clusters are:
The first main goal of the activities within TC1 is to analyse and test mechanisms to stimulate behavioral change in a wide range of important societal domains, thus providing clear recommendations for policy-makers and practice. Applications include, for example, personal and public health, gender equality, (financial) well-being and sustainable pension systems, saving and borrowing decisions, the demand for sustainable investments and environmental-friendly behavior.
Providing the basis for the design of behaviorally informed policy, the second important objective of TC1 is to understand the nature of economic preferences (such as risk, ambiguity and time preferences, pro-social preferences) as well as their cognitive underpinnings.
The first goal of the research within TC2 is to understand the interaction between digital tools and technologies and economic decisions in a wide range of domains, for instance concerning (financial) well-being, managerial decisions and health-related choices.
Other initiatives within TC2 analyse the impact of social media on economic behavior.
Finally, members of UM-BIC conduct research with the goal to create links between behavioral research and big data research.
TC3 has the objective to yield significant insights concerning the impact of globalisation on economic decision-making and to enhance the understanding of how institutions shape cooperation within and across societies. This includes the analysis of discrimination and of conflicts within and between groups.
Moreover, UM-BIC members engage in research on economic and social inequality, with a focus on poverty, redistribution as well as the role of social norms therein and on mechanisms to overcome collective action problems.
Finally, based on insights into the nature of economic preferences, center members focus on pay equity and the establishment of good governance structures in organisations.