James Walsh is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Behavioural Economics at the University of Oxford and a Research Fellow at Harvard University. His research focuses on leveraging data and theory from psychology and economics to better understand how humans think and behave. He is passionate about making the systems that organise our daily lives more responsive to our motivations, belief systems, and social commitments.

James has worked on the application of behavioural science around the world – in Malawi, Lebanon, the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and Ethiopia. This work has spanned diverse range of policy domains, such as employment, education, health, conservation, and social cohesion. He has written about how stories can be leveraged by governments to improve policy design, how behavioural economics can help tackle social exclusion, and about delivering behavioural change at scale in conservation. He employs a variety of methods – online, field, and lab-in-the-field experiments to investigate these themes, in collaboration with governments, non-profits, and companies. He is passionate about the role of diagnostics in evidence-based policymaking.

Prior to coming to Oxford, James was a part of the research team that wrote the World Development Report 2015: 'Mind, Society, and Behavior' and a member of the World Bank’s Behavioural Science team eMBeD. He holds a BA in Economics and Social Science (First Class Honours) from Trinity College Dublin and an MPP from Harvard Kennedy School, where he received a Kennedy Scholarship. He completed his DPhil at the Blavatnik School and Nuffield College, Oxford.


The Whys of Social Exclusion: Insights from Behavioral Economics, with Karla Hoff, The World Bank Research Observer, Volume 33, Issue 1, 1 February 2018, Pages 1–33