Blog

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

Work Requirements Don’t Work

by Anthony Barrows

In 2015, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) prevented 8.4 million people from living in poverty. This essential and effective safety net program helps people with low incomes purchase food for themselves and their families—an estimated 40.8 million Americans were living in poverty in 2015; absent SNAP benefits, that number would have been 49.1 million. Despite its […]

Behavioral Science + Machine Learning = More Social Impact

by Rachel Rosenberg & Michael Stern

Imagine entering college for the first time. In addition to starting day one in a completely new environment, you have countless decisions to make within just a couple of weeks that will determine your path for the next two to four years: “What do I want to study?” “Which courses do I need to take?” […]

Making Behavioral Innovation Accessible to Every City with the CityNudge Accelerator

by ideas42

It’s not exactly breaking news that water shortages and electricity cuts are emerging as critical challenges for cities around the world. Stories of strain on water supplies and power grids abound as populations grow and extreme weather events occur with increasing regularity. At the same time, as well-meaning policymakers strive to take action, many city […]

The (Behavioral) Magic of Tidying Up

by Liam Speranza

We’re already heading into March of this new year, 2019, which means we’ve all made new years resolutions and the fresh start effect is driving many of us to make some changes in our lives, and we’re definitely sticking to them now… right? While we are usually all about sticking to goals and creating new, […]

Helping People Vote Isn’t a “Power Grab.” It’s Democracy.

by Dan Connolly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently described new legislation designed to increase voter turnout as a “power grab.” The legislation, known as H.R. 1, proposes nationwide same-day voter registration, early voting periods for federal elections, automated voter registration, and instituting a federal holiday on Election Day. What should we expect from these reforms? Evidence about […]

Building Reading Habits at Home with Behavioral Insights

by Cassie Taylor

Early reading habits are predictive of a number of later life outcomes, including higher education attainment and income, yet more than two-thirds of fourth graders in U.S. public schools are not reading proficiently. We often think of education as taking place entirely at school, but fourth graders only spend about 13% of their waking hours in the […]

5 Impactful Behavioral Insights from 2018

by ideas42

A significant part of our work at ideas42 is learning, constantly, about people—how they make decisions and how their actions are impacted by the world around them. Through a deeper understanding about our often-quirky tendencies, we can more effectively design solutions that can positively impact the lives of millions of people. In this process, each […]

Bringing Behavioral Design to NYC Non-profits

by ideas42

We’ve spent more than a decade applying behavioral science to complex social problems, all in the service of improving the lives of millions of people. Part of our mission is to dramatically expand the use of behavioral science as a problem-solving tool, and that’s why we’ve recently broadened our efforts to bring this approach to […]

Before Banning Plastic Straws, Try a Nudge

by Erin Sherman & Liam Speranza

“Plastic Straw Bans are Spreading.” “Here are the U.S. cities that have banned plastic straws so far.” “San Francisco board passes plastic straw ban.” You’ll find dozens of headlines like these in the news announcing the spread of plastic straw bans across the United States. Reducing unnecessary consumption has seemed increasingly urgent as a series […]

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