Department/Area: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
The Sustainability, Transparency, and Accountability Research (STAR) Lab at Harvard University invites applications for its predoctoral fellowships. These fellowships aim to support scholars who are currently completing (or who are soon to begin) their PhDs in economics, business, psychology, public policy, political science, environmental science, statistics, or related fields, and whose research interests include private sector initiatives aimed at generating positive social and environmental impacts.
We offer two fellowships associated with a set of related research projects to be conducted in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to examine applications of insights from behavioral economics to the design of financial products and services aimed at helping customers take action to reduce carbon emissions and make decisions that improve their financial wellbeing. The research would focus on core insights from behavioral science associated with present bias, cognitive capacity, inattention bias, social influence, and trust. It would aim to test interventions based upon these insights that help individuals better align their actions with their intentions to help address the climate crisis and improve their financial outcomes. The projects would be developed and completed in collaboration with CBA. Primary methods would include analysis of large-sample behavioral data, surveys, and lab and field experiments.
The projects will focus on products that incorporate behavioral insights to help customers overcome behavioral challenges to take climate action and to improve their financial wellbeing, and may include: green loans for improving home energy efficiency (e.g., via installation of rooftop solar systems), green mortgages for energy efficient homes, assistance for switching home energy plans to renewable sources, carbon tracking that measures emissions from spending, carbon offsetting, help with climate resilience (e.g., for relocation, renovation, preparedness, insurance), emergency savings plans and accounts, support for loan and credit card repayments, support for home buying and mortgage decisions, support for avoiding and recovering from persistent debt, assistance and digital banking features to support financial management and budgeting, assistance for victims of domestic violence, and assistance for indigenous communities and at-risk groups.
The predoctoral fellows would be expected to work full-time on these projects with Harvard STAR Lab faculty affiliates, coordinating with CBA teams and the Director of Harvard STAR Lab and serving as authors or co-authors of published papers. The fellows would be based at Harvard STAR Lab (with a possibility of working remotely) but may also spend a period of time in Sydney at CBA offices to complete work on projects.
Fellows will receive an annual stipend or salary ($40,000-$54,840) along with standard funding to cover tuition and health insurance and additional funding for research-related travel to Sydney. Fellowships for the 2023-2024 academic year begin in July 2023.
Eligible applicants will be completing or soon to begin PhDs in the fields of economics, business, psychology, public policy, political science, environmental science, statistics, or related fields. The duration of each fellowship is one academic year, with a possible extension for a second year.
Catherine H. Nehring Coordinator, STAR Lab Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Harvard University
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.