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

Now Is the Time to Improve the WIC Participant Experience

by Rebecca Oran

The ways in which participants experience public benefit programs like The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), often overlooked, is more relevant now than ever. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States is facing historic numbers of individuals who are out of work. Many find themselves in the position of […]

New Playbook Helps Officials Prepare People to #VoteSafe

by Elizabeth Weingarten & Omar Parbhoo

In May 2020, we began hearing a pattern of concerns from Secretary of State offices across the country. One office told us they were worried about voters completing and signing their mail-in ballots incorrectly. Other offices agonized about how a steep decline in poll worker volunteers, many of whom were in populations most vulnerable to […]

The Student Success Toolkit: From “Test” to “Scale” at CUNY and Beyond

by Rebecca Nissan and Scott Lensing

  Testing is one of the most exciting parts of implementing behavioral science interventions for us at ideas42. After months of research and interviews, and countless design iterations, we are finally able to gain insight into the extent of our impact. But what happens once we’ve run the regressions, printed the tables, and synthesized our […]

Street Smarts in the Field: Insights for Designing Public Housing Infrastructure

by Nuha Saho

  For several years, city governments across the world have been incorporating insights from behavioral science to help design new policies and programs to solve important problems. This entails behavioral experts designing interventions to support groups or communities they themselves may not belong to. In fact, a strength behavioral scientists bring to pervasive problems is […]

Ethical Machine Learning

by ideas42

  Applied together, it is fair to say that machine learning and behavioral science have the potential to significantly magnify social impact. Yet, as machine learning algorithms become more prevalent in the systems people use to make important decisions, there is deep, and not unfounded, concern that algorithms – even those designed with social impact […]

What’s it Like Applying Behavioral Insights to a Government Program?

by ideas42

A conversation with John Gachigi, Head of the Social Assistance Unit in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Government of Kenya. Governments around the world have invested in behavioral science innovations to strengthen programs and services for their citizens, and this has proven to be an impactful investment. However, as more government agencies and […]

What Behavioral Science Can Teach us 4+ Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Lois Aryee & Mukta Joshi

As economies enter various phases of ‘opening back up’ and countries gradually ease COVID-19-related lockdowns and restrictions, many people find themselves constantly navigating ambiguity and uncertainty around how this should affect their everyday decisions and actions.  Two ideas42 team members, based in different parts of the world, share their experiences and offer helpful insights based […]

With 30+ Million People out of Work, it’s Time to Invest in College Completion

by Katherine Flaschen and Ben Castleman

Less than half of adults in the United States have a postsecondary degree (an associate degree or higher). This trend creates significant consequences for people’s long-term economic security and well-being; college graduates are less likely to be underemployed and are more likely to have higher earnings than people without degrees. And as the unemployment rate […]

Could Temporary, Behaviorally Informed Changes to WIC Be Program Fixtures?

by Antonia Violante & Allison Yates-Berg

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have lost their jobs or are finding it even harder to stretch their paycheck to meet their needs. Many are finding that they need social safety net programs to ensure the health and well-being of their families, often for the first time. One of these […]

ideas42 Stands for Racial Justice

by ideas42

We are disgusted by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We are angry about the ongoing racism faced by Black people. This anger is not new in the US, as Black Americans have faced a long history of racist violence driven not by a few bad actors, but by systemic racism […]