2023 Policy Lab Priorities

Using Behavioral Science for More Generous Public Policy in the United States

Pervasive narratives about people experiencing poverty, people of color, and the intersection between the two often drive policy and its administration. False and harmful beliefs have been used to justify the implementation of substantial barriers to access to government programs for those that disproportionately benefit people with low incomes.

Programs such as SNAP and Medicaid, for example, have lengthy and complicated enrollment and verification processes. In contrast, non-refundable tax credits, which disproportionately benefit high-income white families and children, are much easier to access. As a result of these types of policy decisions, the average Black and Hispanic household has only about 10 to 15 percent of the wealth that the average white household has. Forcing people living in poverty to jump through hoops to receive benefits only contributes to the experience of scarcity and perpetuates inequality.

To address poverty and inequality in the United States, we must create more generous social benefit programs that don’t penalize people because they are experiencing poverty.

To do this, the ideas42 Policy Lab will focus on advancing
the following policies in the United States in 2023:

Increasing resources families have to create slack

  • Create slack for families through tax credits
  • Create slack for families through basic income programs
  • Create slack for families through emergency savings


Reducing barriers to government programs by cutting costs to participate

  • Cut costs by eliminating asset limits
  • Cut costs by reducing administrative burdens
  • Cut costs by improving court reminders


To learn more, view our full agenda. 

Or download our agenda by section:

Introduction | Creating Slack | Reducing Barriers

ideas42’s Policy Lab leverages deep track record of expertise in behavioral science research and connections to our affiliate network of leading researchers to advance evidence-based public policies at the federal, state, and local level that foster equity and well-being for all, especially for communities that have experienced historic discrimination. To learn more about our work, visit ideas42.org/policy-lab and join our listserv for policy-related updates.

Interested in partnering with us? Email our team at thepolicylab@ideas42.org.