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Shlomo Benartzi: Now Chief Scientist, California Digital Nudge Initiative
Digital and Social Media | November 03, 2015

Shlomo Benartzi: Now Chief Scientist, California Digital Nudge Initiative

Last week, UCLA professor Shlomo Benartzi launched the California Digital Nudge Initiative: a collaboration with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León to better serve the state of California and transform government-level operations. According to the official press release, digital nudges help people make better choices through key tech and behavioral insights. Millions of Americans have saved more money, found college more affordable, and conserved more energy through private and public work with nudges.

Author of The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior, and now Chief Scientist of the CDNI, Benartzi has led nudge units to help pioneer savings initiatives and re-imagine policy. Benartzi states: “I believe digital nudging has the potential to make a huge difference on a number of critical societal issues, ranging from retirement savings to voter turnout and water conservation. California is perfectly positioned to lead the way, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with Pro tem De León and the California Senate.”

Senator De León is also appropriately optimistic. “Professor Benartzi’s expertise in behavioral economics can be applied to a variety of issue areas, and his creative ideas, coupled with the invention of new technology, will transform how we think about and tackle problems impacting our communities.”

To see Benartzi’s work in practice, check out this recent article from The Wall Street Journal, entitled “Keep Stock Market Apps off Your Phone.” According to behavioral studies, our smartphones are often making us poor investors—the more we check our phones, the more we are apt to suffer from what’s called ‘myopic loss aversion.’ In a panic, we sell at the wrong time, thinking our stocks are worse off than they actually are.

“While there is no cure for myopic loss aversion,” Benartzi writes, “there are some sensible steps we can take to reduce its impact. The first is to curate our digital world, ensuring that we aren’t inundated with feedback we don’t need. We should hide the stock app on our smartphones and avoid market updates on our smartwatches … By helping people focus on the most meaningful variables of their financial lives, we can not only spare them unneeded worry, but also help them avoid costly investing mistakes.”

In his talks, Shlomo Benartzi shows us how to take advantage of this new world, how to revise our models of human behavior, and how to think differently about how we think. To book Shlomo Benartzi for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.
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