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Pamela Chan, Project Director, Human Insights Initiative

Areas of Expertise: Applied Research, Behavioral Economics, Consumer Financial Protection, Savings Policy

Pamela Chan is Project Director, Human Insights Initiative, where she draws lessons from marketing research, consumer insights and behavioral economics to create, manage and enhance financial capability and asset-building programs. In this role, she provides theoretical and hands-on guidance to partner organizations and Staff to advance their strategic goals by translating research and theory in consumer finance and behavioral economics into employable practices.

Previously, Ms. Chan was a Senior Policy Analyst in the New America Foundation’s Asset Building Program, where she conducted research on a range of topics, including access to financial services, savings policy, savings behavior and consumer financial protection, and managed the program’s role in the AutoSave pilot. Ms. Chan was also a consumer research and marketing strategy consultant at the Nielsen Company, and has worked to protect the social and economic rights of people living in poverty at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and the International Justice Mission.

Ms. Chan holds a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law, a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelors of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.


Poverty Interrupted

Microbusiness Solutions Learning Cluster

Savings Innovation Learning Cluster

The Resounding Resiliency of Grandfamilies

Financial Capability Solutions

Tracking Financial Capability

BETA Project

Summary of the 99 Challenges Identified in Proposals to the BETA Project

Small Changes, Real Impact: Applying Behavioral Economics in Asset-Building Programs Brief | Full Report

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Most Recent Blog Posts

Jun 29, 2016

A Peek Under the Hood at Our Research on Young Workers

We’re taking a page from the R&D practices of corporations.

Jun 21, 2016

What Do Young, Lower-Income Workers Think about Financial Security at Work?

We know that young adulthood is a formative period in one’s financial life.

May 25, 2016

Engaging Parents in Their Children’s Financial Development

Repeatedly talking through everyday financial decisions is a powerful way to get kids started on building financial capability.

Apr 29, 2016

The 3 Lessons Low-Income Parents Teach Their Kids about Money

Parents have a big influence on the financial capability development of their elementary-age children.

Feb 4, 2016

Learning Cluster Uses Human Insights Research to Develop Promising Savings Innovations

Years of evidence show that with the right tools, even the most financially vulnerable families can save to build a better future for themselves and their children.

Sep 22, 2015

Despite Resounding Resilience of Grandfamilies, More Work Remains to Fully Understand their Financial Situations

A new report reveals important insights about the financial strengths, sacrifices and struggles of grandfamilies in the US.

Jun 19, 2014

BeFi 2014 Highlights: Challenges to Improving Financial Decision-Making and Behavior

On May 30, we participated in RAND’s annual Behavioral Finance forum (BeFi), a day-long conference which brings together research from behavioral science

May 21, 2014

Testing Text Messages to Improve Financial Behavior

How effective would you like your mobile banking alerts to be? Last month, The New Yorker featured a snarky mobile banking program

Feb 4, 2014

Findings and Implications from Testing in the BETA Project

In the social sector, it's not always possible to test the impact of a designed solution. This often leaves us wondering

Oct 8, 2013

From “To Do” to “Done”: Simple Plan-Making Strategies

Take a look at your to-do list. Which task do you expect to complete first? Probably something fairly simple and concrete: “Buy groceries,” “Pay phone bill,” “Clean bathroom.”

Aug 5, 2013

Take a Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes – The BETA Project

Luckily, in order to diagnose a behavioral problem, we don’t need to exhaustively understand the mindset and behavior of every single client at our partner sites.

Jul 29, 2013

Look for the Unexpected – The BETA Project

Part of diagnosing a behavioral problem is realizing that you don’t always know where to look for the “symptoms.”

Jul 22, 2013

Being Wrong is Sometimes Right – The BETA Project

In behavioral diagnosis, as in life, being wrong is sometimes helpful – especially when it stimulates new insights on the problem.

Jul 15, 2013

Don’t Suppose, Diagnose! – The BETA Project

The last time you visited the doctor with an illness, what did your physician do?

Jun 20, 2013

Defining Problem Statements in the BETA Project

While defining the problem is the first step towards a solution, crafting the right problem statement is inherently difficult.

Jun 19, 2013

Helpful Tactics to Define a Problem

Behavioral economics is, ultimately, about how we think of people. The assumptions we make about people change how we approach problems related to their behavior.

Jun 18, 2013

The First Step towards a Solution

Today’s post is the first of a three-part series on defining problems for behaviorally informed interventions as we share our insights and learning from the BETA Project.

Jun 6, 2013

Four Insights from Rand's BeFi Forum

Changing the way we frame exercises where people are asked to estimate the benefit of financial decisions can change their perceptions of the benefit.

Apr 22, 2013

We Got 99 Problems...

With 99 applications from a diverse set of organizations, you might expect an infinite range of different problems and program challenges.

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