Behavioral economics and behavioral science serve as design frameworks that helps program managers improve project effectiveness by furthering their understanding of human decision-making, biases and communication.

In our Behavioral Economics & Behavioral Science online course, explore how behavioral insights can help you better understand and address development challenges faced by low-income communities. Learn behavioral science theory, methods and real-world development applications. Working alongside Duke faculty and peers, you'll apply your new knowledge and skills to various development sectors during the course’s immersive and engaging group project component.

About the Program

Topics covered

Theory and Fundamentals

  • Foundational behavioral principles, using the behavioral economics EAST framework
  • Common behavioral and psychological biases that serve as levers to improve program outcomes
  • Introduction to Human-Centered Design (HCD) and its relation to behavioral science
  • Complex ethical questions in behavioral research

Methods and Applications

  • Real-world case study applications of behavioral economics across development sectors such as financial inclusion, sustainability, governance, health, and education.
  • Innovation through evidence-based and human-centered policymaking 
  • Testing behavioral economics interventions using randomized control trials

Group Project Component 

Working with faculty and peers, students will engage in an interactive mock client project. They will choose from a select array of real-world development challenges to form groups in which they will work together for the four weeks of the program. The groups will develop literature reviews on their issue topic, identify opportunities for behavioral interventions, develop prototypes, and design implementation test plans. The group project will culminate in a joint presentation to the class and faculty.

This program is ideal for professionals wanting to learn how to integrate behavioral economics principles and methods into their development policy work.

Past program participants include the following:

  • Program and project managers from the public and non-profit sectors
  • Researchers from think tanks and academic institutions
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and learning specialists
  • Communications, public relations, and donor campaign specialists
  • Policy advocacy professionals

If you have questions about whether this course is a fit for you, email us at

Tuition for this program is $2,500.*

Tuition and fees cover:

  • Faculty instruction from Duke faculty and expert guest speakers
  • All course materials and resources
  • Access to course website for 6-months after course completion

*Reach out to our staff to inquire about program tuition discounts for Duke and executive education alumni as well as for group rates.


DATES & Times

July 8 - August 2, 2024 MWF
9-11:30 a.m. US Eastern Time

Application Deadline

June 28, 2024


All classes will be held virtually using the Zoom video conference platform.


Email the ExEd Team at


Interested in hearing more about similar courses? Check out DCID’s summer course on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for Development.

About the Faculty

Joseph Sherlock

Joseph Sherlock leads the Government Team at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University – a team which focuses on using behavioral science to bring innovation into civic society. He is also PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, where is exploring how behavioral ideas can increase trust in elections and enable pro-environmental behavioral spillovers. His passion is using behavioral science as a vehicle for evidence based and evidence generating innovation.

Sherlock has previously been a principal behavioural scientist with HM Revenue and Customs in the heart of the British government, worked at the Behavioural Insights Team in Public Health, and been a branding consultant for Clear M&C Saatchi. He has run 50+ RCTs with governments across the world and has a wealth of experience applying behavioral science and human-centered design to difficult behavioral challenges, mostly in the sustainability, democracy, tax, financial decision making and health arenas.

Sherlock has a First-Class Psychology degree from the University of Bath and holds an MSc in Social Policy from The London School of Economics.

We were all so fortunate to have had such a well curated introduction to Behavioral Science and Econ. The class was very well planned and all the course material was very helpful in deepening my understanding of the topic.

2023 BE Participant