Benjamin L. Castleman

Newton and Rita Meyers Professor in the Economics of Education; Director, Nudge4 Solutions Lab


Ben Castleman is the Newton and Rita Meyers Professor in the Economics of Education at the University of Virginia, and the Founder and Director of the Nudge4 Solutions Lab at UVA. He is the Faculty Director of the University of Virginia-US Army Partnership on Veterans' Education. Ben's research develops scalable solutions in education and public policy by leveraging behavioral economics strategies, data science, and research-policy partnerships. He is a senior advisor to Former First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative. Ben has presented about his research at several White House convenings and in testimony before Congress.

Ben's research has appeared in top public policy and economics journals, including The Journal of Labor Economics, The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and The Journal of Human Resources. Ben's research has been generously supported by numerous philanthropic foundations and has received extensive media coverage, including The New York Times, National Public Radio, Time Magazine, and the Washington Post.

Ben is a graduate of Brown University, and completed his doctoral work at Harvard University. Before returning to graduate school, he was a public school teacher and administrator in Providence, RI.

Selected Publications


Recorded Seminars and Interviews


George Washington University’s FinLit Talks: Interviews with Financial Literacy Thought Leaders
In this interview with George Washington University's Annamaria Lusardi, I discuss the potential for behavioral nudge strategies to improve financial literacy and postsecondary outcomes and to reduce educational inequality.

TEDxUVA’s 2016 Sights Unseen conference
In this video, I gave a TED talk about how to leverage behavioral insights to design low-come, scalable solutions that addresses pressing policy problems at TEDxUVA.

Congressional Testimony
In this video, I testified at the the U.S. House of Representatives Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee oversight hearing on Closing the Achievement Gap in Higher Education. I briefed the Committee on low-cost strategies to improve college persistence and success.

Interview with Gov Innovator Blog About Improving Education Outcomes through Innovative Low-Cost Interventions
In this audio, I discuss how school district leaders, or other state and local education leaders, can strengthen student outcomes through innovative low-cost interventions, such as through text messages. I also discuss my research which focuses on how behavioral economics and social psychology can improve college access and other measures of success for low-income students.

Ed Policy Seminar at University of Virginia
This talk was entitled "Prompts, Personalization, and Pay-offs: Using Behavioral Nudges to Help Students Navigate Complex Postsecondary Decisions," where I discussed new research that explores innovative strategies to help students and their families navigate complex decisions about postsecondary education.

Interview with Curry School of Education on College Access and Success
In this video I discuss why the college admission and enrollment process is such a hot topic and some of the new research I’m working on.