Environmental Sustainability

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 […]

Social Norms for Social Good: 3 Insights to Apply

by Liana Johnson

Social norms are a powerful tool for improving lives—they have helped people get healthier, save more money, and take positive environmental actions. While social norms sound simple—“tell people what others are doing and they’ll change their behavior!”—there are plenty of nuances to leveraging them for social good. Apply these three insights to optimize your social […]

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 […]

‘Tis the Season for Americans to…Give to Charity?

by Sarah Welch

In 2014, 31% of annual charitable giving occurred in the month of December—and 12% in the last 3 days of the year. Why? There are many potential reasons. The traditional holiday season sparks generosity and a desire to help others. Some people make last-minute donations for tax purposes. And more recently, fundraisers’ giving campaigns are […]

Trick or Treat: Four Spooky (Because They’re Real) Behavioral Insights

by ideas42

If you’re getting yourself into the Halloween…spirit…by checking the back of closets and behind curtains for boogeymen, don’t forget to take a peek in the mirror. Sometimes we don’t find the eeriest things lurking in dark corners, but in the corners of our own minds. That’s right, studying behavior (and examining our own behavior) can […]

Skipping The Bag: A Look at Chicago’s Bag Tax

by Lee-Sien Kao

This summer, a wave of restrictions on plastic drinking straws swept through legislatures and councils in California, New York City, and Seattle; even private companies like Starbucks are taking a stand on plastic straws—the beverage giant is planning to phase them out of their stores entirely by 2020. While there’s been some controversy surrounding these […]

Want Generous, Intentional, and Informed Giving? Try Behavioral Science

by Omar Parbhoo

It’s often said that Americans are exceptionally generous, and fortunately, it’s a claim that’s well supported by the numbers. In 2016 alone, U.S. households donated over $282 billion to charities worldwide. And when compared globally, the U.S. consistently ranks as one of the most altruistic countries by the World Giving Index. But do these absolute […]

The Role of Combinatorial Innovation in Addressing Societal Challenges

by ideas42

  idea42’s Josh Wright recently caught up with Tom Kalil, Chief Innovation Officer of Schmidt Futures, and former Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  One of the ideas that Tom is exploring is that science and technology can and should be playing a larger role in addressing societal challenges, particularly those […]

ideas42 Seminar Series: A Talk with Daniel Chen

by ideas42

With the ideas42 Seminar Series, we invite leading scholars to share their insights and what inspires their exploration into human behavior. Our New York office was pleased to host Daniel Chen, researcher at Toulouse School of Economics. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a PhD in economics from Massachusetts Institute of […]

5 Tips for Launching (and Sustaining) a City Behavioral Design Team

by ideas42

For the past few years, we have been applying behavioral science to city programs and services in New York and Chicago to help the city government take into account complex human behavior, and the contexts in which we make decisions. We have embedded experts into agencies themselves—a model we call Behavioral Design Teams (BDTs)—to tackle […]

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