Introduction

A better understanding of human behaviour can lead to better public policies. Therefore, policymakers need to focus more on what influences people's decision-making and less on how people are supposed to behave.[1] To that end, understanding and differentiating between intuitive (automatic) thinking and reflective (rational) thinking[2] is fundamental.

Behavioural economics focuses on demonstrating that people are not always rational beings and act based on different biases, such as overconfidence, loss aversion and present bias, among others. Thus, this branch of economics incorporates ideas from other social sciences, especially psychology, to enrich the classical economic model.

The Cabinet Office and Institute for Government in the UK, through their report Mindspace: influencing behaviour through public policy, argue that policymakers facing policy challenges such as crime, obesity, environmental sustainability or population inoculation have a potentially useful toolkit of behavioural approaches. Applying these tools can lead to inexpensive and painless ways of “nudging” citizens towards new ways of acting and thinking[3]

Behavioural economics has a fairly wide range of applications, and although it has already been applied successfully in some areas, its potential is much greater. To tap that potential, one must learn about what influences people's behaviour. Under this premise, research centres, lines and teams of work and institutions have been established around the world with the aim of solving public policy problems using the tools of behavioural economics, such as the Behavioural Economics Group at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); the Mind, Behaviour and Development Integration Unit (eMBeD) at the World Bank; the Behavioural Government Lab in conjunction with MineduLAB of the Peruvian Ministry of Education; the Mexican Institute of Behavioural Economics (IMEC) and The Behavioural Insights Team, among others.  

In this context, the first "Workshop on public policy instruments based on behavioural economics" was held in 2021 with the aim of addressing the conceptual part, presenting successful cases of the application of behavioural economics in the region and presenting some studies carried out to strengthen the communication efforts of governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second workshop will be a space to showcase best practices in this area, as well as a vehicle to train public officials in the region on the benefits of behavioural economics and its tools, as a way to develop better public policies, especially in the actions carried out against corruption. 

 

[1] OECD (2019), Tools and Ethics for Applied Behavioural Insights: The BASIC Toolkit, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9ea76a8f-en.

[2] Thaler, Richard H. & Sustein, Cass R. (2008), Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. Yale University Press. New Haven & London

[3] Cabinet Office and Institute for Government (2010), Mindspace: influencing behaviour through public policy, https://www.bi.team/publications/mindspace/

Objectives
  1. Gain knowledge about the conceptual foundations of behavioural economics.
  2. Analyse the design of economic policies based on behavioural economics.
  3. Present the implementation of economic policies based on behavioural economics.
Information on the event
  • Date: 10, 11 and 16 August 2022
  • Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (Caracas time)
  • Invitation: Participation is by invitation from the organizers, aimed at public officials from Latin America, as well as people related to the academic sector and research centres linked to actions to combat corruption (limited places). 
  • Language: Spanish
  • Modality: theoretical-practical. Workshop attendees will have to participate throughout the sessions.
Agenda

10/08/2022

Moderator: Elisabet Torres, Analyst of Economic Recovery of SELA
9:30-9:40

OPENING SESSION – WELCOMING REMARKS

  • Ambassador Clarems Endara, Permanent Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA).
  • Carlos Scartascini, Leader of the Behavioural Economics Group and Head of the Development Research Group at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
09:40-12:30

SESSION I
INTRODUCTION TO BEHAVIOURAL ECONOMICS

Trainer:  Nicolas Ajzenman, Assistant Professor at the Sao Paulo School of Economics-FGV and affiliated researcher at IZA

Objective: To present the conceptual foundations of behavioural economics and its application in public policy, as well as to present corruption from a behavioural approach.

This session will answer the following questions:

  • What is behavioural economics?
  • How does it differ from the standard economic model?
  • What is its relevance for public policy implementation?
  • What are the tools used in behavioural economics?
  • Do corrupt governments generate dishonest citizens?
11/08/2022
  Moderator: Elisabet Torres, Analyst of Economic Recovery of SELA
09:30-10:15

SESSION II
CASE STUDIES

Trainer: Representative of the IDB Research Department.

Objective: To introduce the implementation of public policies based on behavioural economics.

In this session, the trainer will give examples of the use of behavioural economics in public policy, show successful cases of its application in the region and explain how the use of behavioural economics tools improves public management.

10:15-12:30

SESSION III
INTERACTION WITH EXPERTS

Trainers:

  • Deborah Martínez, Senior Behavioural Economics Fellow at the IDB Research Department.
  • Lina Díaz, Behavioural Economics Consultant at the IDB Country Department Andean Group (CAN/IDB).
  • Indhira Ramírez, Behavioral Economics Research Fellow at the IDB Research Department.

Objective: To present the implementation of public policies based on behavioural economics.

In this session, participants will be able to interact in working groups with the trainers by applying the tools of behavioural economics to a given case study.

16/08/2022
  Moderator: Elisabet Torres, Analyst of Economic Recovery of SELA
09:30-11:30

SESSION IV
INTERACTION WITH EXPERTS (Continued)

Trainers:

  • Deborah Martínez, Senior Behavioural Economics Fellow at the IDB Research Department.
  • Lina Díaz, Behavioural Economics Consultant at the IDB Country Department Andean Group (CAN/IDB).
  • Indhira Ramírez, Behavioural Economics Research Fellow at the IDB Research Department. 

Objective: To present the implementation of public policies based on behavioural economics.

In this session, participants will have to present proposals applying the methodological guide. They will be assisted by the trainers.

11:30-11:40

CLOSING SESSION

  • Carlos Scartascini, Leader of the Behavioural Economics Group and Head of the Development Research Group at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
  • Ambassador Clarems Endara, Permanent Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA).
Trainers

Deborah Martínez

Senior Behavioural Economics Fellow at the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. She holds a PhD in Experimental Economics and Economic Development from George Mason University. Prior to the IDB, Deborah worked as a Senior Associate at a non-profit behavioural science-based design consultancy. She currently applies behavioural science and her expertise in development economics to encourage different sectors of the population to change their behaviour in order to achieve personal and social benefits. At the IDB, Deborah specialises in the public health sector in the Latin American and Caribbean region and has worked from a behavioural science perspective in the philanthropy and financial health sector.

 

Lina Díaz

Economist specializing in behavioural science with a PhD from George Mason University. She has extensive professional experience, both in academia and the private sector, in experimental methods applied to behavioural science and in laboratory and field experiments in economics. Lina also holds a master's degree and an undergraduate degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and joined CAN/IDB in 2020.

 

Indhira Ramírez

Economist specialising in behavioural science at the Caribbean Countries Department of the IDB. She holds a master's degree in behavioural science from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor's degree in economics from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo. Prior to joining the IDB Behavioural Economics Group, she held research functions in applied economics in the areas of health, social protection, labour markets, and education at the World Bank and the IDB.

 

Nicolás Ajzenman

Assistant Professor at Sao Paulo School of Economics-Fundação Getulio Vargas and Research Affiliate at IZA-Institute of Labor Economics. He specializes in behavioural economics, economic development and political economy, with applications to migration and education. He has published in journals such as the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, The Journal of Law and Economics and Health Economics. Prior to joining the FGV, he was a Visiting Scholar in Behavioural Economics Group at the Inter-American Development Bank. He has been a consultant to various international Organizations such as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the IDB. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics (Sciences Po), a master's degree in Public Administration-International Development (Harvard University), a master's degree in Economics (Universidad de San Andres), and a B.A. in Economics (Universidad de Buenos Aires).

 

Carlos Scartascini

Head of the Development Research Group at the Research Department and Leader of the Behavioral Economics Group of the Inter-American Development Bank. He currently focuses on expanding the use of behavioural economics in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to behavioural economics, his areas of expertise include political economy and public finance. He has published eight books and more than 60 articles in academic journals and edited volumes. He is a member of the Executive Committee of IDB's Gender and Diversity Lab, Associate Editor of the academic journal Economía, and Founding Member of LACEA's BRAIN (Behavioral Insights Network). A native of Argentina, he holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from George Mason University.