A Behavioral Perspective on Narrative Change around Poverty

Wed, May 15, 2019 (All day) to Thu, May 16, 2019 (All day)

One of the main areas for research that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has identified through the work of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty focuses on the dominant narratives around poverty, and on how they might be changed.  Changing the dominant narratives surrounding economically vulnerable populations and dispelling myths about poverty and economic hardship in America is a vital step in arriving at more effective policies to increase mobility from poverty.  To this end, Princeton University’s Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy will be convening leading behavioral researchers and thinkers in Princeton this Spring.

The meeting will have several overlapping purposes: to get a better sense of what is known that is relevant to the narrative change agenda (including historical successes of narrative change); to develop a clearer understanding of what would be the most revealing and consequential research questions (both with regard to content and to dissemination); as well as to be able to better gauge the nature and availability of people willing to devote non-trivial amounts of time and energy to exploring this agenda.

Among the issues addressed are likely to be the precise interventions that will most effectively dispel harmful poverty narratives and promote accurate ones; the most productive, accurate, and memorable messages about poverty and mobility; and the most effective ways to disseminate the messages and interventions widely and persistently so as to effect long-lasting change. The conversation may also need to consider ideas about how to measure current attitudes and behaviors, introduce new narratives in controlled ways, and evaluate the impact of those novel messages over time.

Attendance is by invitation only.

Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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