I am a behavioral economist interested in combining the insights of psychology and economics to solve big societal problems. I work on creating digital nudges that leverage technology to achieve massive scale and help millions make better financial decisions. I have received a Ph.D. from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and I am currently a professor emeritus and co-founder of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at UCLA Anderson School of Management. I am also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative.
My work has demonstrated the potential for far-reaching improvement. Along with Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, I have pioneered the Save More Tomorrow™ (SMarT) program, a behavioral prescription designed to nudge employees increase their savings rates gradually over time. In our original research, Thaler and I found that SMarT increased employee savings rates from 3.5 percent to 13.6 percent. The SMarT program is now offered by more than half of the large retirement plans in the U.S. and a growing number of plans in Australia and the U.K. The program has also been incorporated into the Pension Protection Act of 2006, enabling approximately 15 million Americans boost their retirement savings.
To help bridge the gap between academic research and the real world, I’ve worked with many financial institutions and served on multiple advisory boards. I’ve been a senior academic advisor to Acorns, Morningstar, Personal Capital, Voya and others. In addition, I’m currently an advisor to Athena, Wisdom Tree and additional fintechs. I'm also the co-founder of PensionPlus, a start-up dedicated to providing a personalized retirement income plan for all Americans.