BMO Public Lecture 2019

Human Nature & Human Development

Behavioural economics shows us that we do not always act in our own best interest. Our internal biases and cognitive limitations can lead us to make poor choices despite readily available information and resources.

Fortunately, human nature can be accounted for to solve the problems that human nature creates. Through an understanding of the cognitive processes behind our decision making, we can apply the tools of behavioural economics to design better policies and organizations as well as improve social welfare.

On September 5, Canadian economist Nava Ashraf will deliver a free public lecture on this topic, drawing on her research that combines economics and psychology to test insights from behavioural economics in the context of global development in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Integral to this work is Ashraf’s concept of altruistic capital, a way to harness our internal desire to be of service to others.

Presented by BMO Financial Group, the Simon Fraser University Department of Economics and SFU Public Square, this free lecture will start at 7 PM and will include a Q&A period, followed by a reception for all guests.

Speaker: Dr. Nava Ashraf

Nava Ashraf is a Professor at the Department of Economics at London School of Economics and Political Science. She is also Research Director at the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. She received her PhD in Economics from Harvard University, and she was an assistant and later associate professor at Harvard Business School from 2005 to 2016. Professor Ashraf’s research combines psychology and economics, using both lab and field experiments to test insights from behavioural economics in the context of global development in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. She has pioneered the concept of altruistic capital, a way of harnessing every individual's intrinsic desire to make a positive social impact. Her recent field experiments on health services delivery and educational investment have been carried out jointly with the Ministries of Health and Education in Zambia, using a model of co-generation of knowledge. Professor Ashraf’s research is published in leading journals including the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Journal of Economic Perspectives. She has been awarded a Queen's Jubilee Medal for service by the Government of Canada, and is the youngest person ever to receive the Order of British Columbia.

Twitter: @profnavaashraf


September 5, 2019 | 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Reception to follow

Doors open at 6:00 PM



Segal Graduate School of Business
500 Granville Street, Vancouver

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.


Event partners

Registration Disclaimer

As this event is free, and free events routinely have a high number of no-shows, it is our policy to overbook. In case of a full event, registration may not guarantee entry. Seating is limited and will be available to registered attendees on a first-come, first-served basis.

Venue Information

The Segal Graduate School of Business is located at 500 Granville St, and is a brief walk from both the Granville and Waterfront skytrain stations, along with numerous bus stops.

  • Paid parking is available at 443 Seymour St. Parking is also available at 500 & 400 W. Cordova St.
  • Limited bike racks are available out front, with others nearby.

Wheelchair Seating

The venue and all floors within the building are wheelchair accessible.

Washroom Accessibility

There are wheelchair accessible washrooms available on the first floor. Unfortunately, this venue does not have gender-neutral washrooms at this time. However, there are gender-neutral washrooms located on the first floor of SFU Harbour Centre (515 W. Hastings St), a 4 minute walk away.


If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding this event’s accessibility, feel free to connect with us at or 778-782-9442. If you require ASL or other language interpretation please submit this request no later than 3 weeks in advance.