Thoughts and insights from our work applying behavioral science to social problems.

For a behind-the-scenes look at our analytical process, visit our data42 blog.

Better Messaging About Future Public Health Emergencies Using Behavioral Science

by ideas42

We are now over 900 days into the global pandemic that is COVID-19. Meanwhile, there has been hope for many with the introduction of vaccines and boosters; reintegration into society via hybrid working arrangements; and the resumption of sporting events, concerts, and international travel. A semblance of normal life has returned for most, yet we’re […]

Our Ongoing Commitment to Racial Justice: 2022 Updates

by ideas42

In the summer of 2020, we listed seven concrete ways we would support racial justice in our work, as calls for racial justice rang not only in the United States but around the world. As we did in 2021, we’re taking a moment to hold ourselves accountable to those commitments and report on the ongoing […]

The Power of Co-Design: Lessons Learned from Diverse Stakeholder Perspectives

by Rahin Khandker, Anne Stotler, Allison Schachter, ideas42, and James Nyara, Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs

As behavioral designers, we know it’s important for end users and other stakeholders to participate in the design process for any new solution. But when a diverse array of perspectives are important, determining when and how to approach design collaboratively may feel daunting. A recent co-design process in South Sudan illustrates how stakeholders’ input, provided […]

Rebuilding the Safety Net by Reducing Administrative Burden

by Amanda Kaplan and Kelli Garcia

A few weeks before 4-year-old Paul Peterson was scheduled to have surgery to close a hole in his stomach as part of his recovery from a stroke, he was dropped from Medicaid coverage. While his mother frantically worked to figure out what happened and get him re-enrolled, his surgery was delayed and he missed needed […]

Changing Poverty Narratives Starts with Understanding Our Own Associations

by Allison Yates-Berg

I used to not think much about narratives, let alone their role in shaping public opinion and policy. If you had asked me at the start of my poverty-fighting career what narratives were, I would have told you they were simply stories or referenced a quote about “controlling the narrative.” It’s true that I knew […]

Changing Narratives Around Care Work in Argentina and Beyond

by Eva Matos

Achieving gender equity doesn’t require better arguments or more evidence, it needs new narratives. Last year, Argentina’s marea verde, or green tide, delivered a sweeping abortion reform, moving the needle in favor of gender equity in a society that’s still influenced by prevailing Catholic values and norms that stigmatize a woman’s right to choose. Millions […]

Overcoming Barriers to Voting in Local Elections

by Maya Alper

In the decade since becoming eligible to vote, I’ve moved seven times across four different states. Along the way, I’ve prided myself on re-registering with each move and doing my best to get familiar with my new elected officials. But despite the fact that my job literally revolves around elections, I still struggle like most […]

How Does Uncertainty Influence Decisions About COVID Vaccination? Part 2

by Tom Tasche, Lee-Sien Kao, and Ric LaGrange

Behavioral science provides a crucial framework for understanding human responses to uncertainty. As we unpacked in a recent post, we’ve all been living with high levels of uncertainty and instability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  When it comes to uncertainty regarding COVID-19 vaccines, there are four “cognitive pitfalls” in particular that are likely to affect decision-making. […]