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Past: Behavioral Science through the City Lens

Thank you to everyone that joined us!



Sara Bleich, Professor of Public Health Policy

Mike Norton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration 



The Mayors Innovation Project and Harvard’s Behavioral Insights Group (BIG) are partnering to develop and test behavioral solutions to city problems. Working with Harvard’s team of behavioral economists, decision research scholars, and behavioral scientists, Mayors Innovation Project cohort members have access to innovative research and co-develop high-impact, low-cost solutions to city problems. 


By applying rigorous experimental design and data analysis to the ways in which local governments interact with their residents, we can improve outcomes for education, health, equity, the environment, and city finances.


This partnership is currently in its first year, with a cohort of six cities – Columbia SC, Tacoma WA, Golden CO, Grand Rapids MI, Burlington VT, and South Bend IN – participating. Work includes in-depth consultation and planning with Harvard faculty, an in-person meeting on campus, and ongoing support, advice, and analysis from the BIG team.


These cities were selected to participate via a competitive process – stay tuned for opportunities for your city to participate in next year’s cohort. 





Download the Full Agenda

Tuesday, April 11

6:00 - 7:30pm

Welcome Reception

Grafton Street Pub and Grill, 1230 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Wednesday, April 12

8:00 - 9:00am


Harvard Faculty Club, Room 4, 20 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

9:00 - 9:15am

Welcome and Introductions

​9:15 - 10:00am

Behavioral Science in Practice (BIG Faculty)

10:00 - 10:15am


10:15 - 11:45am

Brief Report-outs (MIP City Staff):

  • 1 Successful Behavioral Insights Intervention
  • 1 Proposed Intervention/Problem

​11:45 - 12:30pm


12:30 - 1:45pm

Project Team-Planning

1:45 - 2:00pm


​2:00 - 3:00pm

​Report Out



Background Materials

Behavioral Insights for Cities, Behavioral Insights Team, October 2016. Read more.


Guide to developing behavioural interventions for randomised controlled trials, Phil Ames and Professor Michael Hiscox, Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government, September 2016. Read more.