The Behavioral Side of COVID-19

As we work on generating new tools and solutions in partnership with governments and NGOs, we're also compiling a look at the various ways behavioral science can be useful in a global pandemic.

We know that our contribution to weathering this crisis (along with physical distancing, wearing masks, and washing our hands) is in using behavioral science to create innovation. We will continue to look to and amplify the message of health experts and public officials as well as economic resources and guidelines as we monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to a rapidly-evolving world.

The decisions and actions people take around the world over the coming months truly have the power to change lives, and that’s where evidence-based behavioral design comes in.


The Behavioral Side of COVID-19 Blog Series

  1. Social Distancing & When to Seek Medical Help
  2. When Social Distancing Is Impossible: Humanitarian Crises and Human Behavior
  3. So You’re Working From Home? Make the Most of it with Behavioral Science Tips
  4. Behavioral Insights for Keeping Your Sanity While Working at Home with Kids
  5. When Panic Buying Hurts: Strategies to Lessen the Impact on WIC Participants
  6. Designing for Effective Physical Distancing in Essential Public Spaces
  7. Inoculating Democracy from COVID-19
  8. Resources for Making Financial Supports Behaviorally Informed During a Crisis
  9. Behavioral Design for Public Agencies’ COVID-19 Response
  10. Making Government COVID-19 Communications More Effective
  11. COVID-19 Is Different–Charitable Giving Should Be Too
  12. Could Temporary, Behaviorally Informed Changes to WIC Be Program Fixtures?
  13. What Behavioral Science Can Teach us 4+ Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic
  14. New Playbook Helps Officials Prepare People to #VoteSafe
  15. Now Is the Time to Improve the WIC Participant Experience
  16. The College Student Journey in the Time of COVID-19
  17. 8 Strategies for College Leaders Advancing Change Initiatives
  18. Using Behavioral Insights to Make the Most of Emergency Social Protection Cash Transfers
  19. Brain, Meet Modern Journalism
  20. Boosting Student Voter Participation During a Pandemic
  21. Helping Community Food Advocates Spread the Word about Pandemic-EBT Food Benefits to NYC Families

Op-Eds + Audio Features

  1. #ChecksChecksChecks: Why We Need A Universal Basic Income Now
  2. How to Maximize the Impact of Cash Transfers, During and After COVID-19
  3. 20 questions to ask instead of “How are you doing right now?”
  4. Responding to COVID-19 in the Developing World
  5. Behavioral science can help students succeed in classes suddenly moved online (collaboration with Nudge4 & Lumina Foundation)
  6. Why Do We Treat Unemployment Applicants as Potential Criminals?
  7. What Behavioral Science Tells Us About the COVID-19 Response
  8. We’re All New Voters Now
  9. Pandemic Disruption: How Public Benefit Programs Can Use Behavioral Science to Create Successful Innovation
  10. How to Prevent the Minor Errors that Disqualify Mail-In Ballots

Interested in working with us on applying behavioral science to tackle problems arising from COVID-19? Reach out to us at

In addition, below you’ll find a short list of actionable resources we think could be useful at this time, from a guide to making online learning more effective to creative ways to create better hand washing habits to a checklist for improving all of your communications.

Educators: Nudge Strategies to Improve Student Success In Online Learning (available here as a condensed 1-pager)

Governments/Public AgenciesBehavioral Design for Government COVID-19 Response

Behavioral Science Tips for COVID-19 Communications (collaboration with CHIBE at the University of Pennsylvania & Indlela Behavioural Insights) *Also available in French and Spanish language versions

Behavioral Science Tips for Physical Distancing in Low- and Moderate-Income Communities (collaboration with CHIBE at the University of Pennsylvania & Indlela Behavioural Insights) *Also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese language versions

The Safe Voter Playbook for expanding flexible voting options such as vote-by-mail with voter behavior in mind.

Humanitarians: Humanitarian Crises & Human Behavior , including tips for optimizing cash & voucher assistance

Parents: Tips for Making the Most of Parenting While Working From Home