Gov42: State & Local Government Innovation

Targeting effectiveness of a wide range of programs & policies

The effectiveness of public policies, programs, and places depends on how people respond to and use them. Wherever people interact with public services – from traffic safety and parking tickets to pre-K programs and health clinics – behavioral science can provide insights to help governments build better outcomes and experiences.

ideas42 has partnered with states and cities to generate behavioral science innovations in an initiative called Gov42. Gov42 identifies behavioral bottlenecks that hinder people’s engagement with programs, policies, and public spaces. We then design, test (typically with randomized controlled trials), and scale low-cost, high-return solutions across a wide range of policy issues, including in health care, unemployment insurance, job training, education, and housing assistance.

Our Gov42 work builds on groundbreaking, evidence-based innovations to extend behavioral science innovations across an array of public programs and processes. We’ve already redesigned summons tickets in New York City to make them easier to understand. We’ve increased access to financial aid and boosted school persistence at state universities and community colleges. We’ve designed an inexpensive way to reduce water consumption with a municipal utility. And we’ve helped improve adherence to statin medication.

Low-cost, behaviorally informed changes can have outsized impacts. If you work for a U.S. city or state agency interested in collaborating with us, contact us at or tweet at @ideas42 to join the conversation.

Learn More: The “ABC”s of Public Sector Behavioral Innovations

Support for Gov42 initiatives is provided in part by the Arnold Ventures. Arnold Ventures’ core objective is to address our nation’s most pressing and persistent challenges using evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approaches.