Civic Engagement

Combating Misinformation in a Critical Period for the United States Election

by ideas42

It’s November 4th, Day 2 of election returns in the United States 2020 election, and as was expected and planned for, the outcome is not yet decided. All the votes are usually not counted election night, but in the past, reasonable projections could be made the night of. This year, due to safety concerns amid […]

Boosting Student Voter Participation During a Pandemic

by Jazondré Gibbs, Tom Tasche, and Cassie Taylor

Nearly twice as many students voted in the 2018 midterm election as in 2014, raising turnout among student voters to a high-water mark. As recently as last fall, analysts confidently forecasted similarly record-breaking levels of participation in the 2020 presidential election. Fast forward 12 months and, needless to say, things have changed. The pandemic is […]

Brain, Meet Modern Journalism

by Elizabeth Weingarten and Omar Parbhoo

A lesson one of us (Elizabeth) learned in journalism school: The best first sentences, also known as the lead, are vacuums. Great journalists use them to demand a slice of readers’ limited cognitive bandwidth and suck them into a story. If the story is well-written and interesting enough, your audience will read and understand it, lectured […]

How to Prevent the Minor Errors that Disqualify Mail-In Ballots

by Maya Alper

At first glance, mail-in ballot numbers seem to presage a coming disaster: during the primaries more than 550,000 mail ballots were rejected, many disqualified for seemingly small errors, like envelopes sealed with tape. But these numbers don’t signal an inevitable November Nightmare. In fact, the science of human behavior can help explain both why these […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

COVID-19 Is Different—Charitable Giving Should Be Too

by Sarah Welch, Cecilia Shang, Katy Davis, & Piyush Tantia

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen, but our urge to help others in crisis is familiar. When disaster strikes, a common arc unfolds: Media coverage and stories abound, non-profit organizations spearhead relief efforts, solicitations to donate are shared, and dollars come pouring in. These one-time, urgent campaigns are important and play a critical […]

How Expert-Curated Guidance Helps Donors Follow Through

by Omar Parbhoo

The tragic impact of COVID-19 is being felt in every corner of the globe. But amid this crisis, millions of people are stepping up in inspiring ways to help one another. New emergency response funds have been created and existing charities are being retooled to meet the immense needs of the moment. While the scale […]

Inoculating Democracy from COVID-19

by Omar Parbhoo

This is part of a series of posts about behavioral science and COVID-19. Click here to read about some of the most important behaviors during this pandemic—like seeking medical help, responding to humanitarian crises, and adapting to remote work in a global outbreak. The coronavirus outbreak is upending core functions of our democracy, forcing Americans […]