RIGOROUS STUDY OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE IN POLICY
The CABS team includes project leaders with expertise in economics, social psychology, sociology, organizational behavior, and evaluation. So far, CABS has teamed up with 29 agencies in 15 states on program redesigns that use behavioral strategies, and we have many more in development. In every study, we apply the most rigorous methods of evaluation available and publish all findings, positive, negative, or null.
In 2010, the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project was the first major effort to bring a behavioral research lens to human services programs that serve poor families in the United States. Sponsored by the Administration for Families and Children (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the project applied behavioral insights to the operations, implementation, and structure of social service programs and policies in an attempt to improve their efficacy. The project conducted 15 random assignment tests with nearly 100,000 sample members located in Texas, Ohio, New York, Oklahoma, Indiana, California, and Washington. Low-cost interventions improved child care subsidy renewal rates and the use of quality-rated child care providers, boosted requests for child support modifications and payment consistency, and improved engagement in welfare and other social service appointments and activities (see the table below for examples).
||Intervention Cost Per Person
|Child Support: Washington
||Increased requests for order modifications by incarcerated parents to 41.3 percent, a 31.9 percentage point increase
|Child Care: Indiana
||Increased parent attendance at their first scheduled subsidy renewal appointments to 54.7 percent, a 10.6 percentage point increase
|Work Support: New York
||Increase meeting attendance for a tax credit program to 28.5 percentage, a 12 percentage point increase
Building on these findings, we have continued a partnership with ACF on two more projects: Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) and BIAS Next Generation. The BICS project launched tests in seven states and the District of Columbia in 2016, while BIAS Next Generation will begin testing in 2017.