Technology Empowering U.S. Diplomacy and Development

How We Decide - Panelist Bios

Behavioral economists have clearly shown that people will often make decisions that are contrary to their best interests and, based on their research, can offer many reasons for these biases and the inconsistent behavior. In recent years, there has been a push to ‘nudge’ people to make better decisions, especially in the design of domestic public policy. But what does behavioral economics tell us about decision making in foreign policy? Do these same biases exist, and, if so, what should be done to adjust our foreign policy process to account for them? This panel will look at how behavioral economics can be used to improve our diplomatic and development efforts.

Tim Kane (@HudsonInstitute) - Hudson Institute

Dr. Tim Kane is the chief economist at the Hudson Institute. He is also an active entrepreneur and investor, having founded multiple software firms. In addition to senior research roles at the Kauffman Foundation and the Heritage Foundation, Kane has served twice as a senior economist at the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. Previously, Kane was an Air Force Captain who served two tours of duty overseas as an intelligence officer.

Kane is the co-author with Glenn Hubbard of BALANCE: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America (Simon and Schuster, May 2013). Kane and Hubbard blog at Kane also authored BLEEDING TALENT (Palgrave MacMillan, Dec 2012), a book about leadership in the U.S. military that has been favorably reviewed by the New York Times and National Review.

Kane earned a Ph.D. in economics from UC San Diego. He is also a graduate of U.S. Air Force Academy.

Kane has published scholarly research on diverse topics including entrepreneurship, economic growth, labor, and national security. Dozens of media outlets have cited his research, including The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. He has provided commentary for ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX News, National Public Radio, WSJ Opinion Journal, and Bloomberg TV. Kane lives in Virginia with his wife Hiromi and their four children.

Drew Conway (@drewconway) - IA Ventures

Drew Conway is a leading expert in the application of computational methods to social and behavioral problems at large-scale. Drew has been writing and speaking about the role of data — and the discipline of data science — in industry, government, and academia for several years. Drew has advised and consulted companies across many industries; ranging from fledgling start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, as well as academic institutions and federal agencies. Drew started his career in counter-terrorism as a computational social scientist in the U.S. intelligence community, and received his Ph.D. in political science from New York University in May, 2013.

Andrew Gelman (@StatModeling) - Columbia University

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University. He has received the Outstanding Statistical Application award from the American Statistical Association, the award for best article published in the American Political Science Review, and the Council of Presidents of Statistical Societies award for outstanding contributions by a person under the age of 40. His books include Bayesian Data Analysis (with John Carlin, Hal Stern, and Don Rubin), Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks (with Deb Nolan), Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models (with Jennifer Hill), Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do (with David Park, Boris Shor, Joe Bafumi, and Jeronimo Cortina), and A Quantitative Tour of the Social Sciences (co-edited with Jeronimo Cortina).

Andrew has done research on a wide range of topics, including: why it is rational to vote; why campaign polls are so variable when elections are so predictable; why redistricting is good for democracy; reversals of death sentences; police stops in New York City, the statistical challenges of estimating small effects; the probability that your vote will be decisive; seats and votes in Congress; social network structure; arsenic in Bangladesh; radon in your basement; toxicology; medical imaging; and methods in surveys, experimental design, statistical inference, computation, and graphics.

Will Tucker (@ideas42) - ideas42

Will Tucker is a Vice President at ideas42, where he works on household finance, consumer protection, and anti-poverty projects. Born in his grandparents’ house in Iowa, Will grew up in Iowa City and Japan. A Truman Scholar, he graduated with degrees in Africana Studies and Public Policy & American Institutions from Brown University, where he was a member of the President’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. He also received an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, with a certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. He has worked at the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget, as Director of the Rhode Island Urban Debate League, in public health and information technology evaluation, at the Department of Justice, and on the 2008 Obama campaign in Iowa. Able to stumble through conversations and self-deprecating jokes in Japanese and Spanish, Will has been safety-certified in forklift, jackhammer, and chainsaw operation.

Matt Wallaert (@mattwallaert) - Bing

Matt Wallaert is a behavioral scientist at Bing, working at the intersection of psychology and technology.  After spending several years as an academic doing research on judgment and decision making, he became a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor, and now works on advancing human progress through the application of psychological science to changing everyday behaviors.

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