Global INsights Initiative (#WB_GINI)

Behavioral and Social Change for Development


The World Bank’s Global INsights Initiative (GINI) works with World Bank teams and government clients to incorporate behavioral and social insights from economics, psychology, and related fields into project design, streamline the implementation of projects, and evaluate the impact of interventions inspired by these insights.

The 2015 World Development Report: Mind, Society, and Behavior demonstrates that a more realistic understanding of choice and behavior can make development interventions much more effective. After all, people think fast and often automatically, respond strongly to social incentives, and use mental models or specific worldviews to interpret information and perceptions. Development policy is due for a redesign based on the insights in Mind, Society, and Behavior GINI aims to do just that.


GINI officially launched on October 22, 2015. The event featured an array of distinguished external and internal experts headlined by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Duke Professor Dan Ariely (for a full list of speakers, as well as a recording of the event, click here).

GINI was formed within the Development Economics (DEC) Vice-Presidency of the World Bank in order to put the findings and recommendations of the World Development Report 2015 into practice. The Report was co-directed by Karla Hoff and Varun Gauri and, both senior economists at the World Bank.

During the official launch, GINI also hosted, together with Ariely and his team, a workshop for World Bank staff. The workshop provided advice and guidance to World Bank project teams on the art and science of using behavioral insights in development projects.


GINI’s objectives are threefold: 

  1. To work with World Bank teams to incorporate behavioral insights into intervention design and  evaluate the impact of behaviorally inspired interventions;
  2. To assist government clients that want to use behavioral insights in policies and projects, and who want to build their own capacity in these areas;
  3. To increase the world’s understanding of the scope and power of behavioral insights by conducting research, holding conferences and workshops, and developing networks among academics, the private sector, and policy professionals.

GINI’s work is guided by the following principles. First, it is crucial to recognize that policymakers themselves think automatically, socially, and with mental models. Working on the mental models of policymakers, and improving their decision making, is part of GINI’s agenda. Second, because decision making is profoundly contextual, development interventions require ongoing testing, evaluation, and adaption.  Third, behaviorally informed approaches and traditional economic interventions can be complementary. Some of the largest payoffs emerge from adapting the traditional development interventions, such as changing the timing of a cash transfer, improving the ease of signing up for a government program, or adjusting the social incentives around tax payments.

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    Varun Gauri

    Head of the Global INsights Initiative (GINI) and Senior Economist
    Varun Gauri is Head of the Global INsights Initiative (GINI) and Senior Economist with the Development Research Group of the World Bank. Dr. Gauri co-directed the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Behavioral Public Policy and Health and Human Rights, the World Economic Forum Council on Behavior, the Advisory Board of Academics Stand Against Poverty, and is a member of the RSA (London). He holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D from Princeton University.
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    Julian Jamison

    Behavioral Economist
    Julian Jamison is Senior Behavioral Economist of the Global INsights Initiative (GINI). Before joining the team Dr. Jamison worked as an economist and served as the Section Chief of the Decision-making and Behavioral Studies group in the Office of Research at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the United States government. He is a Research Affiliate at Innovations for Poverty Action and a fellow in the US-China Young Leaders Forum. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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    Nina Mažar

    Behavioral Scientist
    Nina Mažar is Senior Behavioral Scientist of the Global INsights Initiative (GINI). To assume this role, Dr. Mažar is currently on leave from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management where she is Associate Professor of Marketing and Co-Director of the Behavioral Economics in Action research cluster BEAR. She was named one of “The 40 Most Outstanding B-School Profs Under 40 In The World” (Poets & Quants; 2014). She holds a Master of Science (Dipl. Kauffr.) and Ph.D. (Dr. rer. pol. with summa cum laude) equivalents in Management/Marketing from the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Julian Jamison and co-authors (2016). "Reducing crime and violence : experimental evidence on adult noncognitive investments in Liberia". Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 7648. Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. 

Julian Jamison and co-authors (2016). "Measuring the measurement error: A method to qualitatively validate survey data", Journal of Development Economics, Volume 120, May 2016, Pages 99–112

Julian Jamison and co-authors (2016)."The Returns to Microenterprise Support among the Ultrapoor: A Field Experiment in Postwar Uganda", American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2016, 8(2): 35–64

Julian Jamison and co-authors (2016). "Does poverty alleviation decrease depression symptoms in post-conflict settings? A cluster-randomized trial of microenterprise assistance in Northern Uganda", Global Mental Health, 3 (January).

Nina Mazar and co-authors (2015). "Moving citizens online: using salience & message framing to motivate beahvior change", Behavioral Science & Policy, 1(2).

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