Welcome to the first installment of Behavioral Science & Policy This Week. Every week we will be featuring a handful of the most relevant news stories and events from the world of behavioral science and policy, along with a quick round-up of other news.

Photo credit: Katy Milkman

Photo credit: Katy Milkman

On our #policyshop blog, we reviewed the historic week for behavioral science at the federal level, and announced the Behavioral Science and Policy Series, a new initiative in which BSPA will be organizing workshops to produce White Papers on behavioral science issues relevant to the federal government. The series will include leading academic institutions and non-profits from across the country.

BSPA goes to Washington

We also heard from Dilip Soman about why the Last Mile is so important, so frequently overlooked, and relies so heavily on behavioral insights. And Ben Castleman explained the how to make educational opportunities more accessible and more effective using a behavioral science approach.

Image credit: Oscar Bolton Green, NYT

Image credit: Oscar Bolton Green, NYT

In the New York Times’ Gray Matter, BSPA co-founder Craig Fox and Chicago Booth post-doc David Tannenbaum wrote an Op-Ed discussing their forthcoming research with Harvard’s Todd Rogers on the Partisan Nudge Bias in light of reactions to last week’s Executive Order and SBST report.

The response to the executive order has been generally positive, but some conservatives have been critical, characterizing it as an instance of government overreach. (“President Obama Orders Behavioral Experiments on American Public” ran a headline on the website The Daily Caller.) However, it is worth noting that when a similar “behavioral insights team” was founded by the conservative government of the British prime minister, David Cameron, it met resistance from the political left. (“Brits’ Minds Will Be Controlled Without Us Knowing It” ran a headline in The Guardian.)

Is it possible that partisans from both ends of the political spectrum conflate their feelings about a general-purpose policymethod (such as nudges) with their feelings about a specific policy goal (or about those who endorse that goal)? We think so. In a series of recent experiments that we conducted with Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School, we found evidence for a “partisan nudge bias.

Read The Curious Politics of the 'Nudge'


Our friends at ideas42 have put together a very useful directory of behavioral science experts which includes not just a listing but some fascinating insights from the experts as well.

Often, [people are] looking to apply behavioral science to their specific line of work and want to find experts who have already done some thinking on these challenges. Sometimes, they’re simply curious about the breadth and depth of ongoing behavioral research.

To meet this demand, ideas42 has compiled a Directory of Academic Experts in Behavioral Science. It’s an online tool where you can find profiles and digestible research summaries of leading scholars in behavioral science. You can search for them by name, university, and domain in a quick sweep of the behavioral science landscape.

Link to the ideas42 experts directory

in other news...