Publications

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Center for Applied Behavioral Science

07/2016

USING BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE TO MAKE PROGRAMS WORK FOR PEOPLE

Too often, programs and policies do not consider the way people actually think and behave. It is often assumed that those most in need will find a way to overcome obstacles, but behavioral science demonstrates that even small hassles create barriers that prevent those in need of services from receiving them. Applying these insights can improve the way programs are designed and services are delivered.

We assess individual and organizational behavior to identify areas amenable to low-cost, high-impact interventions.

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION DESIGN

We use a problem-driven approach to design behavioral solutions.

RIGOROUS EVALUATION

We test behavioral solutions in the field using random assignment and rapid-cycle evaluation designs.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND ASSESSMENT

We consult with programs interested in strengthening service delivery using behavioral science even where there is no formal evaluation.

TRAINING AND WORKSHOPS

We offer workshops and toolkits to train staff on key behavioral concepts and how to apply them in interactions with customers.

BEHAVIORAL PROJECTS

IN THE SPOTLIGHT AT MDRC

 

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS TO ADVANCE SELF-SUFFICIENCY (BIAS)

Launched in 2010, the BIAS project was the first major effort to bring a behavioral research lens to programs that serve poor families in the United States. The project applied behavioral insights to the operations, implementation, and structure of social service programs and policies in an attempt to improve their efficacy. The project launched 15 random assignment evaluations with nearly 100,000 sample members in Texas, Ohio, New York, Oklahoma, Indiana, California, and Washington. BIAS interventions improved child care subsidy renewal rates and the use of quality-rated child care, boosted requests for child support modifications and payment consistency, and improved engagement in welfare and other social service appointments and activities.

Funded by the federal Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation of the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS FOR CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES (BICS)

Launched in 2014, the project aims to apply behavioral insights to child support contexts, to develop promising behavioral interventions, and to build a culture of regular, rapid-cycle evaluation and critical inquiry within the child support community. Agencies in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Washington are exploring the application of behavioral science to their child support services. Interventions aim to increase parental engagement in establishing orders, create more evidence-based orders, facilitate the order modification process, and encourage regular payments.

Funded by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement of the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS TO ADVANCE SELF-SUFFICIENCY NEXT GENERATION (BIAS-NG)

Launched in 2015, BIAS-NG builds on the original BIAS project to include a wider range of human services programs, go beyond testing simple “nudges,” and develop tools to help program administrators apply lessons from behavioral science to their work.

Funded by the federal Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation of the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

For more information, contact
Nadine Dechausay at [email protected]

 

 

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