From influence to action: Can behaviour change achieve a clean, inclusive economy?

In conversation with Robert H. Frank

11 March 2020
Centre for Progressive Policy, North House, 27 Great Peter St, London SW1P 3LN

With a newly announced budget, public debate will be focusing on how public finance can influence future social and economic outcomes. Public spending policies are crucial but it is also key to think about what impacts the social environments in which we interact if we are to achieve systemic change.

Efforts to reduce plastic waste, for example, have been spurred by a 5p charge on single use plastic bags in major supermarkets. But there has also been a growing collective consciousness that plays a key part in shifting waste culture and there is now a sense that it is beholden on each of us to play our part in protecting the natural environment. Similarly, the US Business Roundtable statement of the world’s largest 180 company CEOs signaled an appreciation – in theory – that firms must look beyond the interests of their shareholders and recognise their impact on wider stakeholders in society. With an increasing urgency to deliver zero-carbon and inclusive economies in the regions and nations of the UK, it is vital we understand and harness the complexity of consumption and investment patterns, behaviours and decision making.

Robert H. Frank will discuss at this event how we could often achieve better outcomes by taking collective steps to encourage choices that promote beneficial contexts and discourage harmful ones. What might this mean for what or how we tax or regulate the economy? Could there be a ‘going viral formula’ that drives clean, inclusive growth in practice? Can we harness peer pressure to improve how markets work for workers, wider citizenry and the environment?

The discussion will be based on Robert's latest book 'Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work'.

Running order

5pm - arrival from prompt 5:15pm start

6:15pm - Q&A from the audience

6:30pm - Discussion ends

6:30pm - Networking drinks & book signing

7pm - END


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Robert H. Frank

Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management

Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. For more than a decade, his "Economic View" column appeared monthly in The New York Times.
His books have been translated into 23 languages, including Choosing the Right Pond, Passions Within Reason, Microeconomics and Behavior, Principles of Economics (with Ben Bernanke), Luxury Fever, What Price the Moral High Ground?, Falling Behind, The Economic Naturalist, The Darwin Economy, and Success and Luck. The Winner-Take-All Society, co-authored with Philip Cook, received a Critic's Choice Award, was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, and was included in Business Week's list of the ten best books of 1995. Frank is a co-recipient of the 2004 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He was awarded the Johnson School's Stephen Russell Distinguished teaching award in 2004, 2010, and 2012, and its Apple Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005.

Ben Franklin

Head of Research Engagement, Centre for Progressive Policy

Ben is Head of Research Methods at CPP, leading the development of the Centre’s original research programme. Most recently, Ben was Assistant Director of Research and Policy at the International Longevity Centre, exploring the economic implications of demographic change. Before this, Ben undertook economic analysis for the Financial Conduct Authority, and has also worked in research and policy for the Chartered Insurance Institute and HM Treasury.