Applying behavioral sciences in the service of four major economic problems

By Jason Furman

Summary. Behavioral scientists have developed a powerful tool kit for understanding individual decisionmaking and have embedded it in a framework that acknowledges the need for robust experimentation to determine optimal public policy. But to date, the integration of behavioral science into public policy has proceeded from developing a set of tools to then searching for problems [...]

Default clinic appointments promote influenza vaccination uptake without a displacement effect

By Gretchen B. Chapman, Meng Li, Howard Leventhal, & Elaine A. Leventhal

Abstract. The majority of U.S. adults do not receive an annual influenza vaccination. Behavioral economics tools can be harnessed to encourage health behaviors. Specifically, scheduling patients by default for a flu shot appointment leads to higher vaccination rates at a medical practice than does merely encouraging flu shot appointments. It is not known, however, whether default [...]

Using organizational science research to address U.S. federal agencies’ management & labor needs

By Herman Aguinis, Gerald F. Davis, James R. Detert, Mary Ann Glynn, Susan E. Jackson, Tom Kochan, Ellen Ernst Kossek, Carrie Leana, Thomas W. Lee, Elizabeth Morrison, Jone Pearce, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Denise Rousseau, & Kathleen M. Sutcliffe

Abstract. Employee performance often moves in lockstep with job satisfaction. Using the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, we have identified important and common management and labor needs across more than 80 federal agencies. Drawing on the vast trove of organizational science research that examines the effects of organizational designs and processes on employees’ and organizations’ behaviors [...]

Using identity-based motivation to improve the nation’s health without breaking the bank

By Neil A. Lewis, Jr., & Daphna Oyserman

Abstract. For the first time in two decades, overall life expectancy in the United States is in decline. This unsettling increase in mortality is largely due to lifestyle-associated causes. It is in the national interest to address this decline. This article outlines identity-based motivation theory (IBM), an evidence-based behavioral science theory that provides insight and a [...]

Identity traps: How to think about race & policing

By Phillip Atiba Goff

Abstract. Since the summer of 2014, Americans have seen more videos of violent interactions between police and non-Whites than ever before. While the interpretation of some specific incidents remains contentious and data on police use of force are scant, there is evidence that racial disparities in policing exist even when considering racial disparities in crime. The [...]

Nudging by government: Progress, impact, & lessons learned

By David Halpern & Michael Sanders

Abstract. “Nudge units” within governments, most notably in the United Kingdom and the United States, seek to encourage people to behave a certain way by using insights gained from behavioral science. The aim is to influence people’s choices through policies that offer the right incentive or hurdle so that people choose the more economically beneficial options. [...]

Combating biased decisionmaking & promoting justice & equal treatment

By Sunita Sah, David Tannenbaum, Hayley Cleary, Yuval Feldman, Jack Glaser, Amy Lerman, Robert MacCoun, Edward Maguire, Paul Slovic, Barbara Spellman, Cassia Spohn & Cristopher Winship

Abstract. This article draws on the behavioral science literature to offer empirically driven policy prescriptions that can reduce the effect of bias and ameliorate unequal treatment in policing, the criminal justice system, employment, and national security. ias—systematic differences in decisionmaking caused by irrelevant factors—can often be unintentional and cause injustice and unequal treatment. Bias may be [...]