Center Leadership

Eldar Shafir

Eldar Shafir, the Class of 1987 Professor of Behavioral Science and Public Policy, serves as the inaugural Center Director. A Princeton faculty member since 1989, he studies how people make judgments in situations of conflict and uncertainty, focusing in particular on decision making in the context of poverty and on the application of behavioral research to policy. Shafir is Past President of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making and was a member of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. Currently he is a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and is Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Behavior and was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the editor of The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy (2012) and co-author of Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much (2013). Shafir received his B.A. from Brown University and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Betsy Levy Paluck

Betsy Levy Paluck, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, serves as Deputy Director of the Center. Her research, which takes her from communities in central Africa to public schools in the United States, focuses on prejudice and conflict reduction, using large-scale field experiments to test theoretically driven interventions.  She studies social norms, the impact of mass media and interpersonal communication, and the use and effects of social networks and peer influence. She is also interested in social scientific methodology, particularly causal inference and behavioral measurement.  She joined the Princeton faculty in 2009 and, in 2017, was named a MacArthur Fellow. Paluck received both her B.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University in Social Psychology.



Leslie Jennings Rowley

Leslie Jennings Rowley, Associate Director, oversees the Center’s day-to-day management. In this role, Leslie is accountable for executing the Center’s mission and programmatic objectives while developing interdisciplinary initiatives and cultivating research collaborations both internal and external to Princeton. She also serves as a member of the Governing Board of the Behavioral Science and Policy Association. A graduate of Dartmouth College with an A.B. in Economics and Geography, she holds an M.B.A. in international business and a Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis on media. Her previous research has centered on the impact of narrative media on measures of adolescent self-identity, self-construal, and national identity. She is currently working on a project on how individuals and Western society as a whole approach the idea of endings and what behavioral insights may lend to their reimagining.