Behavioural Economics for Sustainability

How can behavioural economics help achieve the SDGs? 

by Neil Gains

In recent years, behavioural economics has challenged the long-standing view that people make rational choices that are in their best interests. Many approaches to social innovation focus on regulatory frameworks and economic incentives, but do the social sciences provide a more useful framework for changing human behaviour?

We believe they do, so in our MA in Social Innovation and Sustainability we running a “Behavioural Economics and Sustainability” course over the next five weeks.  It will focus on how behavioural economics can help individuals, organizations and governments develop behaviour change initiatives designed with the psychology of individuals and societies in mind. 

The course provides frameworks for understanding the drivers of behaviour change along with a toolbox to help participants apply behavioural principles to practical sustainability issues. Students will learn the importance of simple designs, the power of existing mental associations and the ways in which sustainable behaviours can be personalized and also socialized. 

Over the next five weeks of the course, students will develop a specific sustainability intervention, applying their learnings from each class to something that can contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

About the Instructor: Dr Neil Gains

Dr. Neil Gains is the owner and founder of TapestryWorks, the author of Brand esSense and an expert on human and cultural psychology. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Sensory Science from the University of Reading. He is also a Chartered Member of the Market Research Society in the UK (CMRS). He has spent 30 years doing consumer and innovation research for some of the world’s leading brands. 

As well as have many refereed publications, Neil writes and publishes regularly on psychology, design, culture and market research for the marketing and market research industries through journals and websites including Admap, WARC, Asia Research Magazine, Research World (ESOMAR) and MRS Impact. He loves traveling, reading (especially detective novels) and sharing ideas.



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