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.

Behavioral Science Can Still Surprise Us

by ideas42

To those looking in on the scientific process, it can often seem like a tidy operation of nicely measured ingredients and serene labs. Researchers and journalists tell the story of this work from idea to insight as relatively linear. Whether or not they arrived in the same place they expected, this can feel like the […]

Policy Lab: Guaranteed Income Programs Give People What They Need Most

by Kelli Garcia

Staff members at Springboard To Opportunities heard repeatedly from their clients that the thing they needed to successfully reach their goals was more cash. In response, the Jackson, Mississippi, organization launched the Magnolia’s Mother’s Trust in 2018. It couldn’t have been simpler: for 12 months, it provided low-income Black mothers with $1,000 cash, no-strings attached, […]

Policy Lab: Leveraging Behavioral Science to Help Families Build Savings

by Kelli Garcia and Amanda Kaplan

Savings help families secure a comfortable retirement, weather financial emergencies, make major purchases, and decrease stress. Unfortunately, nearly 57 million workers in the U.S. do not have access to an employer-based retirement plan, including over 63% of Hispanic workers, 53% of Black workers, 45% of Asian American workers, and 41% of white workers. Even workers […]

4 Tips for Making the Most of This Giving Season

by Kathleen Addison and Awele Ajufo

This year, we mark one decade of an overlooked occasion with outsized impact: Giving Tuesday. During this season, we come together to donate to causes we care about, an altruistic extension of the previous days of indulgence in the United States and a socially conscious way to use any bonus cash we’ve accrued. In 2021, […]

The Art and Science of Planning for Facility-Based Childbirth in Liberia

by Allison Schachter and Jana Smith

While most rural pregnant women in Liberia intend to give birth in a health facility, there are many barriers that often prevent them from following through on this intention. Facility-based childbirth requires extensive preparation, from determining when and how to leave for the facility to saving for the cost of transportation and drugs and medical […]

Using behavioral science to close the gaps that create inequality

by ideas42

ideas42 was founded nearly 15 years ago on the belief that many of the world’s greatest challenges, particularly those that disproportionately impact those with the least, could benefit from behavioral solutions. Poverty, education, health, the justice system—across all of these issues and more, persistent inequalities resisted easy resolution. We’ve been at the forefront of pioneering […]

Why Soft Skills Development Programs Need Behavioral Science

by Wen Wen Teh

The nature of work is changing, and so are the skills required to be successful. While technical or ‘hard’ skills are essential for most jobs, there is growing evidence that ‘soft skills’ such as problem-solving, teamwork, and resilience play a key role in job market success. This is especially critical in low- and even middle-income […]

What it means to say that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over”

by Ric LaGrange, Lee-Sien Kao & Lalo Motiño

The words spoken by public government officials matter; and more often than not, such words have real-life implications for the decisions people make and the actions they do or don’t take. For example, much attention has been paid to President Biden’s recent declaration that the pandemic is “over”. On a recent episode of the broadcast […]

Building Behavioral Design Skills: A Conversation with Breakthrough ACTION Innovator Hamsatou Moumouni Moudi

by Finou Thérèse Mendy

This is part of a series of conversations with members of the Niger and Burkina Faso National Innovations Teams (NITs), a group of 54 health professionals across government and non-profit sectors. NIT members engage in a hybrid online and in-person applied learning curriculum developed by ideas42, which includes an introduction to behavioral design and hands-on […]

Is digital feedback useful in impact evaluations? It depends.

by Lois Aryee and Sara Flanagan

Rigorous impact evaluations are essential to determining program effectiveness. Yet, they are often time-intensive and costly, and may fail to provide the rapid feedback necessary for informing real-time decision-making and course corrections along the way that maximize programmatic impact. Capturing feedback that’s both quick and valuable can be a delicate balance. In an ongoing impact […]