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

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 […]

3 Best Practices for Streamlining Generosity with GiveLists

by Raegan J. Tennant

With over a million active charities in the United States, selecting organizations to support can be an overwhelming experience for many donors. The presence of too many options—without a way to meaningfully differentiate between them—can lead people to fail to choose at all. Even if donors have a manageable number of charities to choose from, […]

Equipping Global Health Workers with a Behavioral Lens

by Annie Kleiman, Ely McElwee, & Emily Zimmerman

Over the past several years, we at ideas42 have collaborated with health practitioners around the globe to make health care services more accessible and behaviorally informed. Throughout these projects our partners consistently raised one question: How can we learn to apply these behavioral insights ourselves? As skilled and experienced health practitioners, our partners have a […]

How Should We Estimate the Number of People in the U.S. Experiencing Poverty?

by Matt Darling & Allison Yates-Berg

How should we estimate the number of people in the United States experiencing poverty? The official measurement the government uses is the “poverty threshold.” This metric, developed in the 1960s, assesses whether a family’s income is enough to buy a basket of goods (valued at three times what the average family spent on food in […]

What’s It Like to Partner with a Behavioral Design Lab?

by Eva Matos and Emily Zimmerman

Over the past three years, ideas42 has collaborated with nine financial institutions across Mexico and Chile to leverage behavioral science to support their clients’ financial health—implementing 40 interventions for 440,000 study participants, and ultimately reaching over 21 million people. Supporting financial health around the world is one of the areas we focus our work to […]

Helping Small Business Owners Plan for their Financial Futures in Mexico

by Ariadna Vargas

Virginia owns a small business outside of Mexico City. Her brother, whom she cares for, suffers from a chronic health problem, so Virginia needs to have some cash available for covering expenses from sudden medical emergencies if they arise. Until recently, she maintained her savings with an informal community savings group, run by her neighbor, […]

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