Behavioral Interventions

The Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment ( EASE ) Project is a new initiative to improve community college persistence and completion in Ohio. The project will apply insights from behavioral science to design targeted messaging and financial incentives that encourage students to enroll in courses during the summer term.

In the U.S., higher education...


A Randomized Controlled Trial

November, 2016
Mary Visher, Alexander Mayer, Michael Johns, Timothy Rudd, Andrew Levine, Mary Rauner

A randomized controlled trial conducted by REL West and MDRC finds that counseling and text-messaging “nudges” boosted the proportion of community college students who completed academic plans by 20 percentage points.


Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Incarcerated Parents’ Requests for Child Support Modifications

October, 2016
Asaph Glosser, Dan Cullinan, Emmi Obara

A behavioral intervention provided incarcerated noncustodial parents in Washington with materials about their eligibility for a child support order modification and how to request one. It increased the number of parents requesting a modification by 32 percentage points and the number of parents receiving a modification by 16 percentage points.


Using Behavioral Science to Improve Indiana’s Child Care Subsidy Program

September, 2016
Nadine Dechausay, Caitlin Anzelone

Three behavioral interventions targeting low-income parents receiving child care subsidies were tested in Indiana. One combining mailed materials and a phone call increased the percentage of parents who chose a highly rated child care provider, and two others increased the percentage of parents who attended their first scheduled subsidy redetermination appointment.

April, 2018

Too often, programs and policies do not consider the way people actually think and behave. Behavioral science demonstrates that even small hassles create barriers that prevent those in need of services from receiving them. This infographic provides a brief overview of how the Center for Applied Behavioral Science is improving social services by making use of behavioral insights.


A Technical Supplement to “Behavioral Economics and Social Policy”

April, 2014
Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Caitlin Anzelone, Nadine Dechausay, Saugato Datta, Alexandra Fiorillo, Louis Potok, Matthew Darling, John Balz

This technical supplement to an introductory report for the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project presents a description of behavioral interventions that have been commonly researched in studies.

Issue Focus

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
Peter Baird, Dan Cullinan, Patrick Landers, Leigh Reardon

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.