Nudging for Success: ideas42 new postsecondary report

Our friends at ideas42 just released their Nudging for Success report on using behavioral science to improve the postsecondary student journey. Here’s an interview with ideas42’s Alissa Fishbane in The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Nudging for Success is a new report summarizing two years of work by ideas42 and their partners in higher education. Through 16 projects with 13 schools and postsecondary partners, they uncovered numerous subtle, often invisible barriers that hinder students’ progress at each step of their journey to a degree - and then set about designing solutions to improve student outcomes from pre-admission to post-graduation.


Some brief examples from the report: the behavioral approach increased first year retention by 10% among low-income, first generation, under-represented and other students at risk of dropping out with a short video and reflective writing exercise along with monthly messages throughout the year. ideas42 increased scholarships and grants for continuing students by $236-643 per student with email reminders to file the FAFSA that increased early applications by 72%. Simplifying complex forms for income-based debt relief programs by using a novel document jacket increased the completion and return of the form by 48% for borrowers struggling to repay their student loans.


Virgin Atlantic just used behavioral science to ‘nudge’ its pilots into using less fuel. It worked.

Greer Gosnell, John List, and Robert Metcalfe just posted the results of their collaboration with Virgin Atlantic Airways showing how a small behavioral intervention can save large amounts of fuel and money by prompting pilots to make better decisions. Tim Harford also wrote an interesting article about the research. Look for Metcalfe’s take on the research on the policyshop blog in the coming days.

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The Perilous Task of Forecasting

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Zweig sat down with Wharton’s Phil Tetlock for an interview on forecasting, what goes wrong, and how to improve it.

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Rick Larrick on Nudging Better Consumer Decisions

This week on the policyshop blog we hosted Rick Larrick’s new video that follows up his article in Behavioral Science & Policy and explains how we can help consumers by providing them with information that they can use effectively.

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