Friday, April 1 2022
2:00pm - 3:30pm
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Assistant Professor Daniel Dench

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The Voltage Effect in Behavioral Economics

Join us Friday, April 1, 2022, for a virtual talk with University of Chicago Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor of Economics John List. 

In his new book,The Voltage: Effect How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale, List reveals why some ideas take off (or scale) and why others fall flat using a mix of original research and real-world anecdotes from working with companies like Uber, Lyft, and Tinder.

His ideas are brought to life in this engaging presentation with actionable, science-backed take-aways for leaders, teams, and organizations in all sectors looking to take their ideas to the next level.

This event is co-hosted with the School of Public Policy and will be virtual. Please click the link below to join the webinar:

The Voltage Effect in Behavioral Economics

Behavioral Economics (BE) and lab/field experiments in the last several decades have contributed to the deepening scientific knowledge by uncovering mechanisms, producing key interventions, and estimating program effects.

This represented a logical first step, as experimentalists sought to provide deeper empirical insights and theoretical tests as part of the credibility revolution of the 1990s. Nevertheless, what has been lacking is a scientific understanding of how to make optimal use of the scientific insights generated for policy purposes.

List denotes this as the “scale-up” problem, which revolves around several important questions, such as:

  • Do the BE insights we find in the petri dish scale to larger markets and settings?
  • When we scale the BE intervention to broader and larger populations, should we expect the same level of efficacy that we observed in the small-scale setting?
  • If not, then what are the important threats to scalability?
  • What can the researcher do from the beginning of their scholarly pursuit to ensure eventual scalability and avoid voltage drops?


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