The Bartlett School of Planning


CPRG Event: Nudging Towards a Better Financial Future

21 November 2018, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm


Applying Behavioural Insights in the Development of Financial Systems in Rural China

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Fangzhu Zhang


Room G.01, Central House
14 Upper Woburn Place

Speaker: Dr. Helen Bao, Department of Land Economy, Cambridge University

In this ESRC – NSFC joint research project, we investigate the applications of a proven behavioural approach, namely, Libertarian Paternalism, in the development of rural financial systems in China. This approach promotes choice architectures to nudge people into optimal decisions without interfering with the freedom of choice. It has been rigorously tested and warmly received in the UK public policy domain. This approach also fits the political and cultural background in China, in which the central government needs to maintain a firm control over financial systems as the general public increasingly demands more freedom. The overarching research question of this project is whether and how behavioural insights can be used to help rural residents in China make sound financial decisions, which will ultimately contribute to the sustainable economic development in China. The research will be conducted through field experiments in rural China. By relying on field evidences, the project team will develop policy tools and checklists for policy makers to help rural households make sound financial decisions. Two types of tools will be developed for policy makers, namely, "push" tools that aim to achieve short-term policy compliance among rural households so that they can break out of the persistent poverty cycle and "pull" tools that can reduce fraud, error, and debt among rural households to prevent them from falling back into poverty. Finally, the project team will also use the research activities and findings as vehicles to engage and educate rural residents, local governments, regulators, and financial institutions. Standard and good practice will be proposed to interested parties for the designs of good behavioural interventions; ethical guidelines will be provided to encourage good practice. This important step ensures that the findings of this project will benefit academia and practice, with long-lasting, positive impacts.

The flyer for this event can be downloaded here: flyer (https://gallery.mailchimp.com/c5b4df3f84b4c4b7fd38c66d9/files/669e8235-f3e1-4cc2-881a-2f96323b83f4/CPRG_21112018.pdf)

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