Making the Case for BE in Program Design: BIAS Report

Sep 10, 2014 in Blog

A new evaluation of a project that ideas42 collaborated on points to the huge impact that low-cost, easy-to-implement interventions can have on the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.

Using ideas42’s unique diagnosis and design methodology, the project aimed to increase the number of inmates in Texas prisons who apply to have the amount of their child support orders reduced, allowing them to avoid leaving prison with large debts that make it more difficult for them to reintegrate into the community.

The evaluation found that the intervention, which consisted of small tweaks to notification letters sent to inmates, as well as a series of teaser and reminder postcards, increased the number of inmates who sent in a completed application by 40 percent, from 28 to 39 percent. Remarkably, the intervention cost of less than $2 per participant.

The highly successful results of the first nudge experiment in the BIAS project portfolio, run by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in conjunction with MDRC with help from ideas42, demonstrate the potential impact behavioral economics can have in human services policy and program design, and speaks to the effectiveness of ideas42’s behavioral diagnosis and design process.

Click here to read the full evaluation.