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

How I Learned Multiple Languages in My Spare Time

by Eirene Wang

It seems like every week you see a new article touting the benefits of knowing more than one language. Apparently speaking multiple languages boosts your memory, makes you smarter, and even decreases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Despite these potential benefits (the evidence varies), bilingualism has become somewhat of a pipe dream in the […]

3 Best Practices for Streamlining Generosity with GiveLists

by Raegan J. Tennant

With over a million active charities in the United States, selecting organizations to support can be an overwhelming experience for many donors. The presence of too many options—without a way to meaningfully differentiate between them—can lead people to fail to choose at all. Even if donors have a manageable number of charities to choose from, […]

Equipping Global Health Workers with a Behavioral Lens

by Annie Kleiman, Ely McElwee, & Emily Zimmerman

Over the past several years, we at ideas42 have collaborated with health practitioners around the globe to make health care services more accessible and behaviorally informed. Throughout these projects our partners consistently raised one question: How can we learn to apply these behavioral insights ourselves? As skilled and experienced health practitioners, our partners have a […]

How Should We Estimate the Number of People in the U.S. Experiencing Poverty?

by Matt Darling & Allison Yates-Berg

How should we estimate the number of people in the United States experiencing poverty? The official measurement the government uses is the “poverty threshold.” This metric, developed in the 1960s, assesses whether a family’s income is enough to buy a basket of goods (valued at three times what the average family spent on food in […]

What’s It Like to Partner with a Behavioral Design Lab?

by Eva Matos and Emily Zimmerman

Over the past three years, ideas42 has collaborated with nine financial institutions across Mexico and Chile to leverage behavioral science to support their clients’ financial health—implementing 40 interventions for 440,000 study participants, and ultimately reaching over 21 million people. Supporting financial health around the world is one of the areas we focus our work to […]

Helping Small Business Owners Plan for their Financial Futures in Mexico

by Ariadna Vargas

Virginia owns a small business outside of Mexico City. Her brother, whom she cares for, suffers from a chronic health problem, so Virginia needs to have some cash available for covering expenses from sudden medical emergencies if they arise. Until recently, she maintained her savings with an informal community savings group, run by her neighbor, […]

Bringing Behavioral Design to NYC Non-profits with the Behavioral Design Center

by Laura Wolff

Last year, with support from W.T. Grant Foundation, The New York Community Trust, and the Booth Ferris Foundation, we launched the NYC Behavioral Design Center (BDC) to bring behavioral science insights and design strategies to New York non-profit organizations with a focus on strengthening service delivery and civic engagement. By offering support through multiple channels including in-depth […]

Of Mice and Mountains: The Case for a Pragmatic Evaluation

by Morgan Yucel

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” An 18th century poet like Robert Burns could scarcely have imagined something akin to the model that ideas42 and our partners at IntraHealth International designed to integrate family planning services with immunization days at health posts in Senegal, but he couldn’t have offered a […]

ideas42 Seminar Series: A Talk with Emily Balcetis

by ideas42

With the ideas42 Seminar Series, we invite leading scholars to share their insights and what inspires their exploration into human behavior. Our New York office was pleased to host Emily Balcetis, an Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University. Emily is interested in the conscious and nonconscious ways people orient to the world. She […]

Social Norms for Social Good: 3 Insights to Apply

by Liana Johnson

Social norms are a powerful tool for improving lives—they have helped people get healthier, save more money, and take positive environmental actions. While social norms sound simple—“tell people what others are doing and they’ll change their behavior!”—there are plenty of nuances to leveraging them for social good. Apply these three insights to optimize your social […]

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