The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School

The Penn Symposium on Fostering and Financing Long-Term Investments in Prevention and Protection

The Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania
December 13-14, 2010

Co-sponsors: The Wharton School, Penn School of Medicine, Leonard Davis Institute, Wharton Climate Center (formerly Wharton Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes)

Academic Directors: David A. Asch, MD (Medicine), Howard Kunreuther (Wharton), Robert Meyer (Wharton), and Mark Pauly (Wharton)

Objective: To foster cross-field learning on the problem of how best to encourage individuals and communities to invest in protection against harm from uncertain future events such as disease, natural hazards, and man-made catastrophes, and to formulate a set of new fundable research projects in this area.  The idea for symposium was born in our observation that while the problem of how to encourage long-term investments in protection has been studied by multiple fields over the years, progress has often been hindered by the relative absence of interactions among scholars working in different domains, as well as between academics and policy makers.  Hence, the objective of the symposium is to fuse these areas, pooling what we know about:

1. How individuals think about the future and make decisions to invest in protection against future harm; 
2. How to encourage people to make such protective investments, be it via persuasive messages, the development of social norms, or by providing explicit financial incentives; and
3. How to manage the cost of long-term prevention as a society, such as  how to design long-term health and property insurance contracts given (1) and (2) above) and the implications of all this for public policy.

The emphasis of the conference will be on dialogue and the creation of new research ideas.

Day 1, AM:  The basic psychology of forward planning and thinking; or why we (often) fail to protect against future harm

Day 1, PM:  New approaches to and strategies for overcoming myopia biases through communication, defaults, mechanisms to create social norms, etc.

Day 2, AM: New approaches to financial management of losses, particularly of a catastrophic nature

Day 2, PM: Small group break-outs where interdisciplinary teams define new research projects that will be considered for seed funding by the Wharton Risk Center and Leonard Davis Institute.

Keynote: Paul Kusserow (Humana)
Session 1 
 Robert Meyer
Basics of intertemporal choice: Why we have trouble planning ahead

Dan Bartels (Columbia University) Distant Future Welfare

Elke Weber (Columbia University) “When do we want it?” “Now!”

Gal Zauberman (Wharton School)

Session 2 
 Robert Meyer
Strategies for overcoming myopia through policies, defaults and other “nudges”
Baruch Fischhoff (Carnegie Mellon) Social and Informational Barriers to Decision Making
Kevin Frick (Johns Hopkins) The “Hook” for Prevention
Eric Johnson (Columbia University)
Punam Keller (Dartmouth)
Session 3 
 Howard Kunreuther
Protective decision making in natural hazards contexts
Jay Baker (Florida State University) Public Response to Hurricane Warnings
Debra Ballen (Institute for Business & Home Safety) Institute for Business & Home Safety

IBHS Storm Lab video

Mike Lindell (Texas A&M University) Increasing Self-Protective Behavior
Rebecca Morss (NCAR) Weather Forecasts and Warnings
Session 4 
 Howard Kunreuther
Perceiving and coping with future risks
Dan Goldstein (London Business School; Yahoo Research) Communicating Risks
Barbara Kahn (University of Miami)
Mary Frances Luce (Duke University) Processing Health Risk Messages
Klaus Wertenbroch (INSEAD) Precommitment: Anticipating and Coping with Temptation Risk
Session 5
Chair: David Asch
Designing effective persuasive communications
Delores Albarracin (University of Illinois) Opportunities in Behavior Change
Joe Cappella (University of Pennsylvania) Designing Effective Communications
Bob Hornik (University of Pennsylvania) Notes on Persuasive Communication
Deborah Small (Wharton School) Emotional Responses to Disasters
Session 6 
David Asch
Behavioral  and economic incentives
Scott Halpern (Penn Medical School) Building a Better Incentive: Commitment Contracts and Group Orientations
Eric Nelson (Travelers Companies) Hurricane Mitigation Strategies
Kevin Volpp (Penn Medical School; Wharton School) Incentives and Healthy Behaviors
Session 7 
 Robert Meyer
The challenge of designing effective insurance mechanisms
Jon Kolstad (Wharton School) Health Reform, Insurance and Incentives
Howard Kunreuther (Wharton School) Encouraging Protective Measures Through Multi-Year Insurance
Erwann Michel-Kerjan (Wharton School) Catastrophe Economics: The Case of Flood Insurance
Mark Pauly (Wharton School) Health Insurance, Preventive Care and Activities, and Health Reform