This course, jointly developed by MIT GOV/LAB and Busara Center, trains researchers from MIT and East Africa in cutting-edge behavioral science research. In recent years, behavioral science has developed novel methods and data to measure individual and group behavior. Lab in the field experiments bring behavioral science tools to a context that more closely resembles the realities of everyday decision-making. The course will provide students with practical experience in implementing a lab in the field experiment, with an overview of the most current methods in economic, political, and social behavior.
The field course will be hosted in Kenya at the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics. Busara Center is a research organization dedicated to advancing and applying behavioral science in the Global South, with diverse staff expertise in health, education, economics, political science, finance, gender, development studies, behavioral science, mathematics, environmental studies, anthropology, and nutrition. To encourage innovative thinking beyond disciplinary boundaries, the course will be open to researchers in the social sciences more broadly (e.g. political science, economics, business, etc.).
Students participating in the course will gain hands-on experience in designing and implementing behavioral games in the lab, and come away with a novel behavioral game and data for an academic publication. Data collection will take place after the course, for 1,500-1,700 individuals from February to March 2020.
Key Dates:November 1 – Deadline for application submissionNovember 15 – Publication of accepted applicantsDecember 6 – Info sessionJanuary 4 – Departure to NairobiFebruary 1 – Return from Nairobi
Course Content:6-10 January - literature review on experimental methods, behavioral economics, political behavior, and social behavior 13-17 January: field implementation and contextualization of research question at a rural site20-24 January: develop a lab protocol and pre-analysis plan for a novel behavioral game27-31 January: pilot and refine behavioral game with a small sample
Research Fields:Behavioral EconomicsPolitical BehaviorSocial Behavior
Prerequisites:Completed a PhD or Master's degree, or currently enrolled in a graduate program (Year 3+ for PhD).1 year of statistical/econometrics coursework or equivalent
Costs:All students are fully funded for flights, visas, and transport/accommodation related to the course.
Due to limited capacity we encourage you to apply ONLY if you can commit to the dates above. Applications for MIT students will be available early October. Fill out this form to receive notification of when applications are live. Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For students based in Kenya and East Africa, please refer to this form:https://forms.gle/SPHyzy4nB3f7dZYc9
This course is made possible thanks to the support of J-WEL, MIT GOV/LAB, and Busara Center for Behavioral Economics.