More examples of nudges in the public sector

Here’s an interesting story about the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team. With some useful examples that might make for interesting classroom cases/exercises:

As an example, Moore pointed to a program in Lexington, Ky., where there were 7,000 overdue water bills that totaled about $4 million. A nudge in this situation meant sending a mailer alerting people to their delinquency. Some of them included handwritten notes addressing recipients by name. In less than a month, the campaign resulted in the reconciliation of $139,000 in unpaid bills.

Santiago Garces, chief innovation officer of South Bend, Ind., described BIT’s work in his city as “wizardry.” Using mapping, South Bend found that homeowners in low income areas were less likely to take advantage of mortgage-related tax exemptions they were entitled to. This is, in many ways, what behavioral influence looks like at its best: A hard data study upends a presumption (in this case, that lower income families would be most likely to pursue tax breaks) and city government subsequently works to nudge a behavioral change for the good of its residents.

Nudges aren’t limited to exerting public influence. Andres Lazo, director of citizen-centered design for Gainesville, Fla., said he was working to use the idea internally, a strategy Moore had seen deployed elsewhere to encourage employees to share efficiency ideas by offering incentives like recognition and prizes.

Data for dissertations November 6, 2017

36615 Los Angeles Metropolitan Area Surveys [LAMAS] 6, 1973
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36615.v1

36644 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Algeria, 2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36644.v1

36721 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Nigeria, 2014-2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36721.v1

36763 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Liberia, 2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36763.v1

36814 Newly Licensed Registered Nurse Survey, 2011
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36814.v1

36838 Afrobarometer Round 6: The Quality of Democracy and Governance in
Sudan, 2015
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36838.v1

36902 The National Survey of Fertility Barriers, 2010 [United States]
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36902.v1

36950 Chicago Health Aging and Social Relations Study: Attrition
http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36950.v1

Incentives aren’t always clear

For seven months, just over a thousand Washington, D.C., police officers were randomly assigned cameras — and another thousand were not. Researchers tracked use-of-force incidents, civilian complaints, charging decisions and other outcomes to see if the cameras changed behavior. But on every metric, the effects were too small to be statistically significant. Officers with cameras used force and faced civilian complaints at about the same rates as officers without cameras.

From the NYT.

Books worth citing

I’m starting a new series of posts here at Public Management Research for promoting books that I think are under-cited. Some are in public administration; some are from outside the discipline. Maybe it’s just a way for me to remember books that have had outsized impact on my career. 

Data for dissertations November 2, 2017

36673 Eurobarometer 85.1 OVR: European Youth, April 2016 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36673.v1

36798 Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth (12th-Grade Survey), 2016 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36798.v1

36799 Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth (8th-and 10th-Grade Surveys), 2016 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36799.v1

36813 Newly Licensed Registered Nurse Survey, 2009 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36813.v1

36873 National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP): Wave 3 http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36873.v1