Project
Behavior and Policies

11.478 Behavior and Policy: Connection in Transportation

Hi, All, I'm writing to "nudge" some of you into this new class at MIT:

  • On Class#1, I'll open the class with a story of Unreturned Cafeteria Tray in a high school, and 30 "theories" that explain the behavior and suggest corresponding policy interventions: a behavior--theory--policy mapping.
  • On Class#2, I'll present ten instruments for behavioral change----from manipulating information and changing perceptions of time and space, to pricing and framing, to inducing emotions of pride and shame, exploiting peer pressure or enhancing self control and motivation, and to nudging and preference shaping.
  • On Class#3, I'll give you the tools and methods: to critique, design, implement and interpret behavioral experiments that nudge.

After that, it is your job! ----for students to bring behavioral insights into creative design of transport policies, programs and plans—making them not only efficient and equitable but also simpler, consistent, transparent, acceptable, and adaptive to behavioral changes. Look forward! 

Best, Jinhua

PS. Reading “Nudge”, “Predictably Irrational” and “Think, Fast and Slow” but frustrated to see few transportation applications? Come to this class!

Abstract

Structure

Logistics

Abstract

This course examines the behavioral foundation for policy design, using urban transportation as examples. We introduce multiple frameworks of understanding travel behavior, rational or irrational, contrasting the perspectives of classic economic theory with behavioral economics and social psychology, and suggest corresponding policy interventions: a behavior--theory--policy mapping. Then we present a spectrum of ten instruments for positively influencing behavior and improving welfare: from manipulating information and changing perceptions of time and space, to pricing and framing, to inducing emotions of pride and shame, exploiting peer pressure or enhancing self control and motivation, and to nudging and preference shaping.

Most importantly the course challenges students 1) to critique, design, implement and interpret experiments that nudge travel behavior; and 2) to bring behavioral insights to creative design of transport polices, programs and plans—making them not only efficient and equitable but also simpler, consistent, transparent, acceptable, and adaptive to behavioral changes.

Course Structure

Part I: Behavior and Policy in a Nutshell

Class 1. Cafeteria Trays and Multiple Frameworks

  • Unreturned Cafeteria Trays
  • Multiple Framework of Behavior

Class 2. Instruments for Behavioral Change

Class 3. Measurement, Tools and Technology

  • Measurement and Tools
  • Neuroscience, Neuroeconomics and Neuromarketing

Class 4. From Behavior to Policy

  • Nudges and Nudging
  • From Behavior to Policy

Part II: Multiple Frameworks of Behavior

Class 5. Bounded Rationality and Choice Architecture

  • From Home Econ to Homo Sapien
  • Predictably Irrational: Biases and Heuristics
  • Choice Architecture

Class 6. Prospect Theory, Psychology and Social Psychology

  • System 1 vs. System 2
  • Prospect Theory
  • Frame of Reference; Anchoring; Default;
  • Theory of Planned Behaviour
  • Tipping Point

Class 7. Economic Models and Extensions

  • Economic Models and Extensions
  • A Continuum of Decision Making
  • Behavioral Science of Transportation

Part III: Ten Instruments for Behavioral Change

Class 8. Time and Information

  • BC1: Travel Time: Perception and Utility
  • BC2: Manipulating Information

Class 9. Pricing vs. Nudging

  • BC3 Pricing and Psychology of Money
  • BC4: Nudging Active Travel

Class 10. Is Travel Social?

  • BC5 Social Norms, Peer Pressure and Social Network Analysis
  • BC6: Can We Share?
  • BC7: Shame and Pride: Social Image as a Motivation

Class 11. Help People Help Themselves

  • BC8: Let People Try: Commuting Happiness and Wellbeing
  • BC9: Motivations, Meaning, Procrastination and Self-Control
  • BC10: Induce Emotion and Psychology of Persuasion

Part IV: From Behavior to Policy

Class 12. Market Failure and How to Save the Planet

  • Market Failure and Behavioral Economics
  • Saving the Planet: Energy and Environment
  • Tragedy of the Commons and Elinor Ostrom

Class 13. Cap-stone Case: Managing Cars in China's Mega Cities

Class 14. Ends, Means and Strategy

  • To What End? Memory or Experience
  • A Bit of Philosophy: Preference Accommodating vs. Preference Shaping
  • Breaking the Status Quo: Strategy for Change
  • Behavioral Foundation of Public Policy

Bonus: Two Additional Instruments

  • BC11 Change by Design
  • BC12: Too Many Options? The Paradox of Choices

Logistics

  • 11.478 Behavior and Policy: Connections in Transportation
  • Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT, Spring 2014
  • W 5-8pm 9-450A; Credits: 12H
  • Professor: Jinhua Zhao jinhua@mit.edu 
  • Office hour: Monday 2-4pm, room 9-523
  • TA: Liyan Xu liyanxu@mit.edu 
  • Readings on stellar
  • Email List: bap@mit.edu You can register here