Lawrence Katz explores questions raised by findings from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project: the potential effect of behavioral nudges on long-term outcomes, determining who responds to behavioral nudges but would not otherwise participate in a program, and moving to higher-intensity efforts when low-cost interventions are not enough.
Lessons from the BIAS Project
In child support programs, parents must often make complicated decisions with little information in a highly emotional context. The BIAS project, which applied behavioral insights to human services programs, worked with three states to design eight tests focusing on child support order modifications and collection of payments.
Researchers developing behavioral interventions begin by defining a problem, identifying “bottlenecks” that might hamper desired outcomes, and designing and testing possible solutions. In this Expert Commentary from the final report on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, Crystal Hall suggests three ideas for expanding the use of this process.
In this commentary from the final report on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, Sheldon Danziger talks about the value of incorporating insights from behavioral science into new system-level interventions when developing policies to help low-income populations.
MDRC ’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science ( CABS ) and Postsecondary Education policy area launched The Finish Line: Graduation by Design to improve college completion rates using behavioral insights. Graduating from college is a challenge, particularly for low‐income and nontraditional students, who often face personal, institutional, and structural barriers to...
Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) aims to increase summer enrollment rates among low-income community college students using insights from behavioral science. This infographic describes some of the benefits of summer enrollment, reasons why students may not enroll in summer, and interventions the EASE team designed to address low enrollment rates.
The college enrollment process is complex and includes many steps. Recent research has shown that short, action-oriented text messages can help people focus on critical tasks at the right times. Building on this promising research, the Text Ed project will develop and test a strategic text messaging intervention at Educational Opportunity Centers ( EOC s). One of eight...
Building a School Choice Architecture
As school choice systems expand, district enrollment offices are striving to make the choice process accessible and clear for families. This practitioner brief offers lessons for supporting families through the sequence of decisions involved as they engage in the process, search for information, and compare and select schools.
Young people with juvenile justice involvement face many challenges, which may include a lack of education and employment skills, antisocial attitudes and values, unstable housing, and much more. These challenges make it difficult for them to pursue educational pursuits or enter the workforce and become productive citizens. Too often, these challenges continue into...
Final Report of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project
The BIAS project tested behavioral interventions in child support, child care, and work support programs with nearly 100,000 low-income clients in eight human services agencies. Each site saw at least one significant, low-cost impact. The findings suggest that small environmental changes can enhance client-agency interactions and expanded behavioral strategies might help strengthen programs and policies.