Monday, December 09, 2013

NYT article on "Britain’s Ministry of Nudges"

The NYTimes has a write-up on the Behavioural Insights Team, mostly examining their recent work using commitment devices in job centres.

"Mr. Gyani decided to apply these ideas to the job centers. He helped design an initial trial in which 2,000 people looking for jobs were randomly split into two groups: The first group continued to fill out many forms and wait for a visit with an adviser. Those in the second group filled out only two forms and saw a job adviser immediately. If those in the second group hadn’t found work within eight weeks, they were also offered the expressive-writing exercise and a test to identify their strengths. Throughout, advisers in the nudged group not only reminded people to go to a job interview or update their résumé, but also asked them how they planned to get to the interview and at what time of day they would write their résumé. They wrote down the plan in front of their adviser.
“The idea,” Mr. Gyani said, “was to create commitment.”
Preliminary results of the trial surprised even Mr. Gyani. Of the 1,000 unemployed workers who had been nudged, 60 percent were back in a job within 13 weeks, compared with 51 percent of those who weren’t nudged."
Read the article here

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