Behavioral Economics (BE) Science

Why do we behave the way we do? Why do we willingly take a trip to a distant store for a $10 discount on a $40 headphone but not for the same $10 discount on a $400 headphone? Why do we not enroll in benefit programs at low cost today knowing that this can one day grow to a huge cash cushion? Why do we hate losing more than we love gaining? Why are we more likely to litter when other people do? Why are more responsive to reducing electricity use when knowing that our neighbors spend less?

Surely, the decisions we make every day depend not only on the things that conventional economics say matter—prices, cost, budgets, information—but also on contextual and psychological factors —cues, reference points, social forces, identity. The emerging interdisciplinary field of behavioral economics considers both sets of factors and the ways these interact to affect a person’s decisions and choices. By recognizing the capacities, influences and limitations of the mind, behavioral economics expands our framework for understanding individual choice, and the reasons why intentions are not always followed by action. Such an expanded understanding of people’s decision-making also endows program and policy makers with an improved reality of individuals’ experiences.

The beELL initiative nests behavioral economics infused design elements onto existing early childhood interventions and delivery systems to support their objectives of empowering parents and improving children’s developmental outcomes. Click here to learn more about our approach.