Areas of Research

The Susilo Institute’s research is based on the understanding that global business leaders can promote and realize social good.

This starts from the recognition that pursuing social good can be, and often is, aligned with the long-term financial interests of private and institutional business owners.

Investor Lens
We produce cutting-edge research in impact investing and measurement, particularly focused on the relationship between ethical business practices and firm competitiveness.

Organizational Lens
Our faculty thought-leaders examine business innovation, focusing on ethics challenges and opportunities faced at the level of the organization.

Individual Lens
We use insights from behavioral and social sciences to conduct research from the individual perspective, including the processes of human judgment and decision making.

Our monthly cross-departmental lab meetings offer Susilo fellows and interested BU faculty an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas, share work in progress, and develop joint research projects.


Research Themes

As we examine global ethical challenges from the perspectives of investors, organizations, and individuals, our cutting-edge research projects revolve around two major themes: How to Bring About Behavior Change for Good and How to Measure Change.

1. How to bring About Behavior Change for Good: Every organization – be it for-profit, nonprofit or government – brings about changes in behavior. We apply insights from behavioral science (business, economics, psychology, computational social science, design, neuroeconomics, etc.) to overcome systematic bias in individuals’ and organizations’ decisions and actions to improve behaviors and positive impact. The primary pillars include: 

  • Social and Economic Equity. For example,
    • How can we craft interventions for high stakes daily situations to help individuals attend to their latent preference for equity and be less likely to engage in racist or discriminatory practices?
    • How can financial organizations including FinTechs support individuals to better manage their spending, savings, and debt to  improve financial wellbeing for all?
    • How can organizations and brands take a stand and have meaningful impact?
  • Ethical Business Action. For example,
    • How can we foster trust in and adoption of Artificial Intelligence for good?
    • How can we help better navigate disinformation?
    • How can we reduce deception and fraud, particularly in digital environments?
    • How can we better communicate ethical practices to inspire positive stakeholder actions?

2. How to Measure Change — Impact Investing: There is a growing realization that investments can do more than provide financial returns by influencing businesses to do good (or less harm) for society at large. Our research is addressing several key challenges that must be overcome in order to direct adequate financial resources. Our projects include designing financial contracts to maximize impact, improving measurement and monitoring metrics, and understanding investor preferences towards the many attributes of social and environmental impact.