Common Cents Lab Expands Globally to Improve Financial Health Using Behavioral Science

Three-year “train-the-trainer” program extends behavioral science applications to China, Mexico, and Turkey

DURHAM, N.C., March 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Common Cents Lab (CCL), a financial behavior research lab at Duke University, today announced the launch of its Global Project. Supported by MetLife Foundation, the initiative will create deeper capacity for meaningfully and measurably improving low- and moderate-income consumer financial health outcomes around the world using behavioral science.

The Global Project combines CCL’s expertise in applied behavioral science and rapid field testing with regional partner organizations’ deep local insights and solutions to better support consumer financial decision-making. CCL’s Global Project initially launches with partner organizations in China, Mexico and Turkey.

“Behavioral science has proven its ability to deliver positive financial outcomes for individuals,” said Mariel Beasley, co-founder of CCL. “We are excited to launch this new initiative in partnership with MetLife Foundation and share these best practices as a way to take CCL’s behavioral science expertise global. Together, we hope to dramatically improve financial health standards around the world.”

CCL’s proven ability to deliver results through field testing in the U.S. is driving this expansion of its work on a global scale. Since 2016, CCL has conducted more than 83 unique projects and experiments with 62 organizations reaching more than two million low- to moderate-income (LMI) people with outcomes such as increased savings, decreased debt, reduced expenses, or increased earnings.  

The CCL Global Project is a three-year “train the trainer” effort. The CCL team will collaborate with CCL’s Global Fellows, selected organizations that are able to provide technical assistance to financial services providers in their countries. Global Fellows in each country will adopt behavioral science and rigorous evaluation as a core competency in their technical assistance offerings.

“Using behavioral science to make it easier for people to improve their financial health has proven successful in the U.S., so partnering with Common Cents Lab to develop this Global Program is a natural extension of our work together,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “The train-the-trainer model and the challenges people face in each market vary, and these factors set up an exciting challenge that MetLife Foundation is pleased to support.”   

Partner organizations from Mexico and Turkey have already participated in an intensive three-week training session hosted by CCL. These Global Fellows will next partner with local financial services providers, such as credit unions and fintech companies, to implement experiments in collaboration with CCL aimed at improving financial outcomes for LMI households.

Global Fellows from Mexico include:

  • CIRKLO, an innovation strategy consulting firm based in Mexico City that is focused on business transformation, growing social entrepreneurship, and social impact.
  • UNAM Psychology Department’s ICCE Project, an academic initiative designed to integrate cognitive and behavioral sciences, focusing on both theoretical research and applied projects for behavior change in Mexico.
  • New Ventures Group, a platform dedicated to catalyzing impact-driven companies through financing, acceleration and ecosystem building efforts in Latin America.  

Global Fellows from Turkey include:

  • Financial Literacy and Inclusion Association (FODER), a not-for-profit organization based in Istanbul that aims to create a better financial ecosystem in Turkey by reducing the unbanked population, increasing savings, and encouraging the inclusion of women and youth.
  • BUBA Ventures provides financial and executive management support to start-ups through acceleration programs (BUBA Campus), angel investing, and by developing their own ventures.
  • Center for Applied Research in Finance (CARF), a research center associated with Boğaziçi University, was established to conduct academic research on the most suitable financial structures and best practices for Turkey.

In China, Common Cents is working in partnership with Duke Kunshan University to create a co-learning network of academics and field-based organizations that will work on developing experiments to improve aspects of financial wellbeing. This co-learning network will meet periodically to share findings, and transfer skills across the members of the network.

Over the course of the program, all Global Fellows will grow to create projects independently that are aimed at increasing financial health through applications of behavioral science.

“Each of these organizations shares a strong interest in improving financial health and the skills to promote changes in this field,” said Marialejandra Guzman, Director of the Global Project at Common Cents Lab. “We will build on this capacity to help them apply behavioral science to financial decision-making in innovative and beneficial ways.”

To learn more about the Common Cents Lab, please visit

About Common Cents Lab
Common Cents Lab, supported by MetLife Foundation and the BlackRock Emergency Savings Initiative, is a financial behavior research lab at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University that creates and tests interventions to help low-to-moderate income households increase their financial wellbeing. Common Cents leverages research gleaned from behavioral science to create interventions that lead to positive financial behaviors. The lab is led by Behavioral Economics Professor Dan Ariely and is comprised of researchers and experts in product design, economics, psychology, public policy, advertising, business administration, and more.

To fulfill its mission, Common Cents partners with organizations, including fintech companies, credit unions, banks and nonprofits that believe their work could be improved through insights gained from behavioral economics. To learn more about Common Cents Lab visit

About MetLife Foundation
At MetLife Foundation, we believe financial health belongs to everyone. We bring together bold solutions, deep financial expertise and meaningful grants to build financial health for people and communities that are underserved and aspire for more. We partner with organizations around the world to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. To date, our financial health work has reached more than 6 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit

Press Contact:
Michael Azzano
Cosmo PR for Common Cents Lab