Behavioral Interventions

Building a Body of Evidence

April, 2016

Over the past several years, MDRC has worked with the federal Administration for Children and Families to test low-cost behavioral interventions to improve child support services in a number of states. This issue focus describes what’s been learned so far — and what’s planned for the future.

Using Behavioral Economics to Engage TANF Recipients

March, 2016
Mary Farrell, Jared Smith, Leigh Reardon, Emmi Obara

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.

Applying Behavioral Insights to Increase Collections

February, 2016

Findings from tests in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, demonstrate that low-cost, low-effort behavioral interventions can improve child support payment outcomes. These tests are part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families.

Using Behavioral Economics to Increase On-Time Child Care Subsidy Renewals

November, 2015

This study assessed three different behavioral strategies for providers and clients aimed at increasing the timely renewal of child care subsidies, in order to ensure consistent client services. The findings suggest that strategies designed for staff who work directly with clients may be a fruitful area for future work.

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.

Using Behavioral Insights to Encourage People to Participate

August, 2015

Several low-cost behavioral messaging interventions boosted participant attendance at an optional informational meeting for Paycheck Plus, an earnings supplement program in New York City. This test is part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families.

Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Child Support Payments

July, 2015
Peter Baird, Leigh Reardon, Dan Cullinan, Drew McDermott, Patrick Landers

A low-cost behavioral intervention produced a modest increase in the number of parents in Franklin County, Ohio, who made at least one child support payment over four months. This test is part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families.

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