Center for Behavioral Institutional Design (C-BID)

According to OECD estimates, in the decade after the Great Recession of 2008, governments around the world established more than 200 “behavioral units” with the express aim of incorporating insights from behavioral social science to improve the efficacy of public policy. The rapid surge in the demand for behavioral public policy poses two significant challenges. First, while the limits of traditional models in predicting human behavior are well documented, there is a lack of alternative models that can account for the observed diversity in behavior. Second, the implications of the observed behavioral diversity for policy and institutional design are still not well understood. In line with this fact, in recent years, there have been reports of a growing number of unsuccessful behavioral policies and associated squandering of public resources.

The overarching long-term goal of the Center for Behavioral Institutional Design at NYU Abu Dhabi (C-BID) is to construct empirically-validated models of human behavior and use them to design and implement policies and institutions that will improve social welfare. For this purpose, C-BID will bring together faculty from across the NYU Global Network, across the social and behavioral sciences (economists, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and neuro-scientists), as well as leading policymakers, to establish a globally-recognized knowledge hub for behavioral social science and public policy.

The Center for Behavioral Institutional Design is organized around three closely-intertwined research clusters:

  • Cluster 1
    Rigorously explores the social, neurobiological, and institutional underpinnings of preferences, expectations, and, ultimately, behavior.
  • Cluster 2
    Uses insights from Cluster 1 about the causes and consequences of behavioral diversity to design institutions, policies, markets, and rules that enhance social and economic welfare. An innovation of this cluster is to embrace the centrality of human diversity in the institutional design problem.
  • Cluster 3
    Uses the insights obtained from research in Clusters 1 and 2 to design smart and welfare-enhancing behavioral institutions and policies that take into account the specific socio-economic context in which they are embedded. C-BID seeks to expand on its existing relationships with local public and private partners to apply the latest scientific insights from behavioral social science research to the solution of practical real-world problems.