Posted in Projects

Behavioral Science Innovations in Government

The effectiveness of public policies, programs, and places depends on how people respond to and use them. Wherever people interact with public services – from traffic safety and parking tickets to pre-K programs and health clinics – behavioral science can provide insights to help governments build better outcomes and experiences.

ideas42 has partnered with states and cities to generate behavioral science innovations in an initiative called Gov42. Gov42 identifies behavioral bottlenecks that hinder people’s engagement with programs, policies, and public spaces. We then design, test (typically with randomized controlled trials), and scale low-cost, high-return solutions across a wide range of policy issues, including in healthcare, unemployment insurance, job training, education, and housing assistance.

Our Gov42 work builds on groundbreaking, evidence-based innovations with our partners at the World Bank, the White House, and elsewhere to extend behavioral science innovations across an array of public programs and processes. We’ve already redesigned summons tickets in New York City to make them easier to understand. We’ve increased access to financial aid and boosted school persistence at state universities and community colleges. We’ve designed an inexpensive way to reduce water consumption with a municipal utility. And we’ve helped improve adherence to statin medication.

Low-cost, behaviorally-informed changes can have outsized impacts. If you’re a U.S. city or state agency interested in working with us, contact us at

Learn More: The “ABC”s of Public Sector Behavioral Innovations

Support for Gov42 initiatives is provided in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s core objective is to address our nation’s most pressing and persistent challenges using evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approaches.