Smith works in the Center for Applied Behavioral Science, where he leads data management for the center and contributes to data analysis for the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency-Next Generation project. His research on previous projects, including Opportunity NYC, has focused on the effect of cash transfers and financial incentives on low-income families. Smith has 20 years of experience managing the acquisition, processing, and analysis of data files from government agencies, schools, surveys, and experimental studies, and contributes to MDRC’s in-house knowledge of data management. Smith received a master’s degree in economics from Northwestern University.
Engaging California Parents During Child Support Order EstablishmentJune, 2019
Child support agencies in Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties and the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services team tested whether a behavioral intervention could increase the percentage of parents who responded to early paperwork and got involved in the child support process.Report
Using Behavioral Economics to Engage TANF RecipientsMarch, 2016
A low-cost, low-effort behavioral intervention in Los Angeles County modestly increased the percentage of TANF recipients who reengaged in the county’s welfare-to-work program within 30 days of their scheduled appointment. The test is part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families.Report
A Research Note for FundersJune, 2009
Targeted toward very low-income families in six high-poverty New York City communities, Family Rewards offers cash payments tied to efforts and achievements in children’s education, family preventive health care practices, and parents’ employment. This paper reviews data on participants’ receipt of rewards and offers preliminary estimates of the program’s impacts on selected educational outcomes during the first year.Report
Six-Year Impacts on Parents and Children from the Minnesota Family Investment ProgramJuly, 2005
While positive effects on most parents’ earnings and income faded after six years, young children in some of the most disadvantaged families were still performing better in school than their counterparts in a control group. And, for the most disadvantaged parents, MFIP seems to have created a lasting “leg up” in the labor market.
ProjectsMegan Millenky, Dan Bloom, Susan Scrivener, Charles Michalopoulos, Dina A. R. Israel, Johanna Walter, Lauren Cates, Sally Dai, Caroline Mage, Emily Marano, Viktoriya Syrov, Douglas Phillips, Kyla Wasserman, Lily Freedman, Osvaldo Avila, Emily Brennan, Jillian Verrillo, Gilda Azurdia, Frieda Molina, Shelley Rappaport, Clinton Key, Nandita Verma, Cynthia Miller, Jared Smith, Shawna Anderson, Kelsey Schaberg, Caitlin Anzelone, James A. Riccio, Keri West, Caroline Schultz, Ethan Feldman
Many Americans struggle in the labor market even when overall economic conditions are good. Unemployment is persistently high for some demographic groups and in certain geographic areas, and a large proportion of working-age adults — about two in five in 2019 — tend to be out of the labor force. Factors such as systemic racism embedded in the economy and...James A. Riccio, Cynthia Miller, Nandita Verma, Edith Yang, Jared Smith, Gilda Azurdia, Donna Wharton-Fields, Anne Warren, M. Victoria Quiroz Becerra
Family Rewards was an innovative approach to poverty reduction in the United States that was modeled on the conditional cash transfer ( CCT ) programs common in lower- and middle-income countries. The program offered cash assistance to poor families, contingent on their meeting certain criteria related to family health care, children’s education, and parents’ work, in...Jean Grossman, Dan Bloom, Barbara S. Goldman, John Hutchins, Jared Smith, Frieda Molina, Virginia Knox, Clinton Key, Bret Barden, Jessica Kopsic, Rebecca Schwartz, Emily Marano, Sophia Sutcliffe, Helen Lee
Many human services programs require that applicants complete a series of steps — from providing eligibility to arranging transportation and child care — in order to benefit from services. Program designers often assume that individuals carefully consider their options and make the best decisions for their personal circumstances. Over the past 30 years, however,...Dan Bloom, Jared Smith, Barbara S. Goldman, Caitlin Anzelone, Caroline Mage, Yana Kusayeva
Behavioral science sheds light on human decision-making and behavior to better understand why people make the choices that they do. Designers of social services often expect that clients will understand their many choices and obligations, respond appropriately to notices, recognize the benefits of supportive services, and diligently follow through. When these...Caitlin Anzelone, Clinton Key, Mary Bambino, Barbara Condliffe, Rebecca Schwartz, Jared Smith, Margaret Hennessy, Xavier Alemañy
Policymakers and administrators are increasingly using evidence about human behavior to improve the design of social services. People — who often rely on intuition instead of reason, make inconsistent choices over time, and can be overloaded by information — are the clients who receive services, the staff who provide them, and the policymakers who create them....James A. Riccio, Gilda Azurdia, Nandita Verma, Donna Wharton-Fields, Cynthia Miller, Jared Smith, Edith Yang, Betsy L. Tessler, Nikki Ortolani
In March 2007, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his intention to test a set of antipoverty initiatives, called Opportunity NYC , that would use temporary cash payments to poor families to boost their income in the short term, while building their ability to avoid longer-term and second-generation poverty. Such payments are known internationally...James A. Riccio, Gilda Azurdia, Edith Yang, Donna Wharton-Fields, Nandita Verma, Caroline Schultz, Frieda Molina, Cynthia Miller, Richard Hendra, Barbara S. Goldman, Jared Smith, Mark van Dok, Natasha Piatnitskaia, Betsy L. Tessler, Stephanie Rubino, Sharon Rowser
The Social Innovation Fund ( SIF ) , an initiative enacted under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, deploys millions of dollars in public-private funds to expand effective solutions in three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support. This work seeks to create a catalog of proven approaches that can be replicated...
Many social programs are designed in such a way that individuals must make active decisions and go through a series of steps in order to benefit from them. They must decide which programs to apply to or participate in, complete forms, attend meetings, show proof of eligibility, and arrange travel and child care. Program designers often assume that individuals will...James A. Riccio, Richard Hendra, Johanna Walter, Jared Smith, Sharon Rowser
Until recently, employment policy in the United Kingdom had been focused principally on helping people who had lost their jobs to find work. Although some government-sponsored measures were available to help those on the margins of employment retain their jobs and improve their earnings, there had been less support for people once they had found jobs. The launch of the...