Retirement plans, green energy, organ donations — how can defaults help you save money, save the environment, and save lives?  What difference does it make if you have the choice to opt-out now or opt-in later?  Eric Johnson, Columbia Business School professor examines the powerful role that defaults hold in changing behavior and the way we construct our values.  He offers insight on how to design defaults to maximize impact and presents common pitfalls to avoid.  Johnson spoke at Small Steps, Big Leaps, a special research briefing convened by Professors Francis Flynn and Jennifer Aaker and their colleagues in the field of prosocial behavior. They presented practical, and cost-effective solutions for encouraging donations, volunteerism, social activism, and other responsible, caring, and prosocial behaviors.

Eric J. Johnson is a marketing professor at Columbia University’s School of Business. His research interests are in consumer and managerial decision-making and electronic commerce. He is among the most widely cited scholars in marketing, according to the Thompson Scientific Highly Cited ratings. His work on electronic commerce has been published in the Communications of the ACM, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Interactive Marketing, and Management Science. He has presented his work before the Federal Trade Commission, and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Readers Digest, National Public Radio‘s Morning Edition, Marketplace, and the CBS Evening News. He is a coauthor of two books: Decision Research: A Field Guide and The Adaptive Decision Maker. His research in behavioral economics has appeared in Science, Journal of Economic Theory, as well as in two books. Earlier work examining the role of affect and similarity in understanding risk in papers has been published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

In addition, Johnson is the director of the Columbia Center for Excellence in E-Business, and co-director of the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia University. Professor Johnson serves on editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of Consumer Psychology (former associate editor), Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Interactive Marketing and Marketing Letters.