Monday, July 28, 2014

Links of the Week 28.7.14

1. Can behavioural economics improve human services programs?
"The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, is the first major opportunity to use a behavioral economics lens to look at programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States."

2. Madrian (2014), Applying Insights from Behavioral Economics to Policy Design, NBER Working Paper
The premise of this article is that an understanding of psychology and other social science disciplines can inform the effectiveness of the economic tools traditionally deployed in carrying out the functions of government, which include remedying market failures, redistributing income, and collecting tax revenue. An understanding of psychology can also lead to the development of different policy tools that better motivate desired behavior change or that are more cost-effective than traditional policy tools. The article outlines a framework for thinking about the psychology of behavior change in the context of market failures. It then describes the research on the effects of a variety of interventions rooted in an understanding of psychology that have policy-relevant applications. The article concludes by discussing how an understanding of psychology can also inform the use and design of traditional policy tools for behavior change, such as financial incentives.

3. Can betting against yourself online help you save money? [Video by PBS]

4. Interview with Lizzy Leigh, a behavioural research analyst at reinsurance company SwissRe
"My background is in psychology, and I work in a research and development team of about 10 academics who take on pieces of research that will be beneficial for our clients, the insurance companies. Though my PhD is in health psychology, I now work almost exclusively in behavioural economics. We take insights from behavioural science and apply them to all areas of insurance where decisions are made, through live field trials with our clients"

5. Letter by the House of Lords Select Committee updating on their 2011 report on behaviour change

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