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

“Public Charge” Rule (Pure Sludge) Already Reduced Social Safety Net Access

by Allison Yates-Berg & Jeremy Barofsky

  The Trump Administration’s expanded “public charge” rule was set to begin on October 15th before being temporarily blocked by a federal judge only days before going into effect. If implemented, the rule would withhold green cards from immigrants who use common social safety net programs such as Medicaid, which provides health insurance to low-income […]

ideas42 Seminar Series: A Talk with Rebecca Ratner

by ideas42

With the ideas42 Seminar Series, we invite leading scholars to share their insights and what inspires their exploration into human behavior. We were pleased to host Rebecca Ratner, the Dean’s Professor of Marketing at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Her research explores the factors underlying suboptimal consumer decision making and […]

Poverty Retold: Why Narratives Matter for Economic Mobility

by Allison Yates-Berg

This post originally appeared on the Arithmetic of Compassion. What is it like to live in poverty in the United States? Without lived experience, you probably can’t imagine the constant set of challenging choices that people living with low incomes confront each day. You may also have a hard time imagining the tremendous resilience and […]

Curbing Men’s Drinking to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence

by ideas42

Globally, 35% of women have experienced gender-based violence. The vast majority of this violence is perpetrated by partners. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a fundamental injustice that violates women’s basic rights and affects the mental and physical well-being of affected women, their families, and broader communities. While many circumstances can contribute to violence, researchers working […]

Behavioral Science Can Help More Consumers Bank Sustainably

by Griffin Smith

The global financial system provides the fuel which feeds the fires of climate change, Bill McKibben recently argued in The New Yorker. McKibben highlights the key role of banks, asset managers, and insurance companies in funding the extractive ventures of fossil fuel giants. The scale is stunning: in the three years since the Paris Agreement […]

New Proposal to Change SNAP Eligibility Will Hurt Families

by Allison Yates-Berg

How many kids should go hungry to prevent someone from getting food stamps they don’t “deserve?”  This summer, while volunteering to help the elderly apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a retired Minnesota millionaire decided to apply for SNAP himself to see if he could “game” the system. He qualified for the program […]

Cash Plus Behavioral Science Makes an Effective Anti-Poverty Tool Even Better for Beneficiaries

by ideas42

While the widespread adoption of cash transfer programs is a significant step in reducing global poverty, innovative solutions are needed to improve their efficiency. Since 2015, ideas42 and the World Bank have worked together to bring behavioral innovations to cash transfer programs. Most recently, we’ve been working with the governments of Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar […]

Pay What You Wish: Making Public Spaces More Inclusive

by Rosii Floreak

Throughout the summer new stories abound with conflicts over the proper way to use public space in cities. In the Bay Area alone, Barbecue Becky, Permit Patty and a tech company sport’s team arguing with teenagers over use of a soccer field in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood led to viral conversations about who can use […]

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 […]

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