Thursday, July 31, 2014

September 19th ESRC Workshop on Early Life Influences on Later Health and Behaviour

ESRC Workshop 3: Early Life Influences on Later Life Health and Behaviour (19/9/14)

This is the third Behavioural Science Workshop in a series of six that will take place in 2014/15. These workshops are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The venue is the Court Room on the 4th Floor of the Cottrell Building at Stirling University. There will be drinks and dinner after the days talks to which all attendees are welcome.

This workshop will address the ESRC’s priority objective of fostering research that capitalizes on the expanding data resources available in the UK Data Archive and comparable international depositories. There is now an abundance of large databases, which often assess detailed psychological, economic, and health measures in samples of tens of thousands of participants over several years or even decades.

The theme of the workshop is how the precise psychometric measurement of constructs such as intelligence, temperament/personality, and adverse conditions initially and over several years of follow-up can be used to probe the mechanisms underlying the unfolding of economic, health and welfare outcomes as well as inequalities across these domains. The use of life-reconstruction to produce retrospective accounts of early conditions will be addressed, studies utilizing this data presented, and the limitations (e.g. recall, desirability biases) of this approach discussed.

Sign up to the workshop here.

DAY SCHEDULE

The programme will be made available here in due course. Speakers include those listed below.

Professor Alissa Goodman (Institute of Education)
Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (UCL)
Dr. Iris Kesternich (Munich)
Dr. Michael Daly (Stirling University)
Professor Markus Jokela (University of Helsinki)
Mark Egan (Stirling University)

Monday, July 28, 2014

November 21st ESRC Workshop on Preferences and Personality


ESRC Workshop 4: Preferences and Personality (21/11/14)

This is the fourth Behavioural Science Workshop in a series of six that will take place in 2014/15. These workshops are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The venue is the Court Room on the 4th Floor of the Cottrell Building at Stirling University. There will be drinks and dinner after the days talks to which all attendees are welcome.

One of the major challenges in economics is understanding the statistical properties of measures of time, risk, and social preferences and evaluating the validity of such measures. This workshop will focus on empirical research examining economic preferences in laboratory and real-world settings

Speakers will address the reliability of traditional preference measures, their structure across demographic characteristics, innovations in measurement, and links between preference estimates and objective economic and biological measures. We have invited speakers who are engaged in the theoretical and empirical mapping of preference measures to personality traits which have been shown to have substantial predictive validity for important life outcomes (e.g. income, disease morbidity and mortality, employment). Taken together, this workshop will enhance cross-talk and expand the common conceptual ground that exists between personality psychologists and economists interested in the assessment of preferences in the UK and Europe. Furthermore, it will cultivate frontier thinking regarding the future data-collection priorities for social science in the UK and further afield.

Sign up to attend the workshop here.

DAY SCHEDULE


The programme will be made available here in due course. 

Currently confirmed speakers include: 

Professor Marjon Van Pol (Aberdeen) 
Professor Sule Alan (Essex) 
Dr. Bart Golsteyn (Maastricht)
Professor Alex Wood (Stirling)
Dr. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch (Bonn)
Dr. Christopher Boyce (Stirling) 
Professor Eamonn Ferguson (Nottingham) 

Job available: Behavioural Insights Researcher with Public Health England

Full details here

"Employer:
Public Health England
Department:
Science & Strategic Information
Location:
Skipton House, London
Salary:
£37,175 - £45,769 per annum - SEO

This post is a fixed term for 1 year.
The post holder will support collaborative research projects designed to increase the uptake of NHS Health Checks through the application of behavioural insights. They will be expected to help conceptualise, develop, manage, and robustly evaluate a small number of research studies. This will primarily involve telephone calls and field visits to learn about local delivery of the NHS Health Checks programme, intervention design and project proposal development, stakeholder communication, project management, and implementation guidance.
The position will report to the Behavioural Insights Lead Researcher but will be required to work independently under guidance of the Behavioural Insights Team.
For further information / an informal discussion about the post, please contact Dr Tim Chadborn, Behavioural Insights Lead Researcher, at tim.chadborn@phe.gov.uk."

Links of the Week 28.7.14

1. Can behavioural economics improve human services programs?
"The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, is the first major opportunity to use a behavioral economics lens to look at programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States."

2. Madrian (2014), Applying Insights from Behavioral Economics to Policy Design, NBER Working Paper
Abstract:
The premise of this article is that an understanding of psychology and other social science disciplines can inform the effectiveness of the economic tools traditionally deployed in carrying out the functions of government, which include remedying market failures, redistributing income, and collecting tax revenue. An understanding of psychology can also lead to the development of different policy tools that better motivate desired behavior change or that are more cost-effective than traditional policy tools. The article outlines a framework for thinking about the psychology of behavior change in the context of market failures. It then describes the research on the effects of a variety of interventions rooted in an understanding of psychology that have policy-relevant applications. The article concludes by discussing how an understanding of psychology can also inform the use and design of traditional policy tools for behavior change, such as financial incentives.

3. Can betting against yourself online help you save money? [Video by PBS]

4. Interview with Lizzy Leigh, a behavioural research analyst at reinsurance company SwissRe
"My background is in psychology, and I work in a research and development team of about 10 academics who take on pieces of research that will be beneficial for our clients, the insurance companies. Though my PhD is in health psychology, I now work almost exclusively in behavioural economics. We take insights from behavioural science and apply them to all areas of insurance where decisions are made, through live field trials with our clients"

5. Letter by the House of Lords Select Committee updating on their 2011 report on behaviour change

Friday, July 25, 2014

Early childhood intervention in Jamaica boosted earnings by 25%

Gertler, Heckman, Pinto et al (2014), Labor market returns to an early childhood stimulation intervention in Jamaica, Science

Abstract
"A substantial literature shows that U.S. early childhood interventions have important long-term economic benefits. However, there is little evidence on this question for developing countries. We report substantial effects on the earnings of participants in a randomized intervention conducted in 1986–1987 that gave psychosocial stimulation to growth-stunted Jamaican toddlers. The intervention consisted of weekly visits from community health workers over a 2-year period that taught parenting skills and encouraged mothers and children to interact in ways that develop cognitive and socioemotional skills. The authors reinterviewed 105 out of 129 study participants 20 years later and found that the intervention increased earnings by 25%, enough for them to catch up to the earnings of a nonstunted comparison group identified at baseline (65 out of 84 participants)."



















Free summary available on The Heckman Equation site.