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Inaugural BSPA Annual Conference 2015

The Behavioral Science & Policy Association (BSPA) held its first annual conference on June 18 at the Harvard Club in New York. Leading behavioral scientists, policymakers, executives, and members of the media were among the attendees presenting, learning and networking at the inaugural conference. Each tab below provides further detail on our event keynote speakers, panel discussions, and lightning talk presentations. The conference schedule also included sessions for networking and an opportunity to help shape the BSPA agenda.

Craig Fox
BSPA Co-founder
Sim Sitkin
BSPA Co-founder
Katy Milkman
BSPA Conference Organizer
Max Bazerman
Co-director, Center for Public Leadership, Kennedy School of Government
Laszlo Bock
‎SVP, People Operations
David Brooks
New York Times
Op-Ed Columnist
David Gergen
Professor of Public Service and Co-director of the Center for Public Leadership
Adam Grant
University of Pennsylvania
Class of 1965 Wharton Professor of Management and Professor of Psychology
Ronald Haskins
Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Program; Co-director, Center on Children and Families
Chip Heath
Thrive Foundation for Youth Professor of Organizational Behavior
Dean Karlan
Professor of Economics
Elspeth Kirkman
Behavioral Insights Team
Head, BIT North America
Sendhil Mullainathan
Professor of Economics
Maya Shankar
U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy
Senior Advisor, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Cass Sunstein
Robert Walmsley Professor of Law and the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law
Richard Thaler
University of Chicago
Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics
Kevin Volpp
University of Pennsylvania
Director, Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, Leonard Davis Institute
Elke Weber
Jerome A. Chazen Professor of International Business Management and Co-director of the Center for the Decision Sciences
Josh Wright
Executive Director


June 18, 2015  

8:00am Coffee and DanishesHarvard Hall

8:35am Welcome and Agenda SettingHarvard Hall

Co-founders Craig Fox (UCLA) and Sim Sitkin (Duke)

Conference Organizer Katy Milkman (UPenn)

8:50am In ConversationHarvard Hall

Dick Thaler (UChicago) and David Brooks (New York Times)

9:30am Plenary PanelHarvard Hall


Laszlo Bock (Google)
David Coleman
Elspeth Kirkman (BIT)
Maya Shankar (USOSTP)
Josh Wright (ideas42)


David Gergen (Harvard/CNN)

10:20am BreakHarvard Hall

10:45am Policy-Focused Keynote AddressesHarvard Hall

Max Bazerman (Harvard): Justice & Ethics
Elke Weber (Columbia): Energy & Environment
Dean Karlan (Yale): Financial Decision Making

11:30am Lightning Talk Session I

See tab for details

12:10pm LuncheonNorth/Biddle

1:10pm Keynote DiscussionHarvard Hall

Ambassador Samantha Power
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Hosted by Aaron Chatterji

1:40pm Policy-Focused Keynote AddressesHarvard Hall

Kevin Volpp: Health
Ron Haskins: Education
Dean Karlan (Yale): Financial Decision Making

2:25pm Lightning Talk Session 2

See tab for details

3:05pm BreakHarvard Hall

3:25pm Behavioral Science in the U. S. GovernmentHarvard Hall

Cass Sunstein (Harvard)

3:55pm The Future of Behavioral Science for PolicyHarvard Hall

Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard)
Chip Heath (Stanford)

4:15pm Roundtable Discussion: The FutureHarvard Hall


John Arnold
David Brooks (New York Times)
Chip Heath (Stanford)
Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard)
Cass Sunstein (Harvard)


David Gergen (Harvard)

4:55pm Concluding RemarksHarvard Hall

Craig Fox (UCLA) and Sim Sitkin (Duke)

5:00pm Cocktail ReceptionSlocum/East/Mahogany

Track 1: Justice & Ethics Location: Harvard Hall

Steven Blader (NYU)
Fair process as a strategy for gaining policy support: Caveats and solutions

Sreedhari Desai (UNC)
Can men who are domestic traditionalists be organizational egalitarians?

Sunita Sah (Georgetown)
The business of medicine: Discrepancies in conflict of interest policies and effective disclosure

Mary Steffel (UCincinnati)
Ethically deployed defaults: Transparency and protection via disclosure and preference articulation

Track 2: Financial Decision Making Location: Cambridge

Alexander Brown (Texas A & M)
Behavioral insights from financial decision-making with spending, saving, and debt

Judd Kessler (UPenn)
Social forces and identity in charitable giving

Ye Li (UCR)
Golden or graying? Economic decisions and cognitive aging

Abigail Sussman (UChicago)
Maximizing total wealth: The case of savings versus debt

Track 3: Energy & Environment Location: West

On Amir (UCSD)
Driving pro-environmental choice

Tatiana Homonoff (Cornell)
Can small incentives have large effects? The impact of taxes versus bonuses on disposable bag use

Kelly Peters (BEworks)
Good bills pay off: Nudging energy

Erez Yoeli (Harvard)
Harnessing reciprocity to promote contributions to public goods

Track 1: Education      Location: Harvard Hall

Ben Castleman (UVA)
The 160-character solution: How text messages are transforming education

Todd Rogers (Harvard)
Mobilizing families to reduce student absences

Michael Sanders (BIT)
Aspirations and education: Does the heart rule the head? Evidence from randomized experiments

Anuj Shah (UChicago)
Slowing down youth violence

Track 2: Health      Location: Cambridge

Saurabh Bhargava (Carnegie Mellon)
The behavioral economics of health plan choice and insurance reform

Gretchen Chapman (Rutgers)
Vaccination defaults

Carol Graham (Brookings)
Bentham and Aristotle in the Census Bureau? Well-being metrics, economics, and public policy

Saad Omer (Emory)
Immunization mandates as nudge

Track 3: Management, Technology, & Innovation      Location: West

Herman Aguinis (Indiana-Bloomington)
Managing and producing star performers in 21st-century organizations

Linda Babcock (Carnegie Mellon)
Gender differencess in the demand and supply of non-promotable tasks: ‘Just say no’ is not the answer

Alex Imas (Carnegie Mellon)
Do people anticipate loss aversion? Using loss contracts as a commitment device

John Sterman (MIT)
Interactive simulations for climate change policy and risk communication

Harvard Club of New York City

35 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036