Blog


Behavioural science and policy: where are we now and where are we going?

The use of behavioural science in policy has exploded since the publication of Nudge in 2008 and the creation of BIT in 2010. We were asked to reflect on the team’s work for a new issue of Behavioural Public Policy, and we decided to be open about some of the challenges with applying behavioural science […]

November 5, 2018


Encouraging retirement planning through behavioural insights

Think about yourself the day after you retire. Will you be spending more time with your friends and family? Does this question make retirement feel closer, more real? In a recent study with over 70,000 people, this simple prompt substantially increased engagement with retirement planning. It was more effective than stating the benefits of retirement […]

July 27, 2018


Robert Putnam: celebrating his incredible contribution to the study of social capital

There’s lots of hyperbole around, but it’s not difficult to argue that Robert Putnam is the most impactful political scientist alive. It was a strange blend of emotions, then, for those of us gathered at Harvard to mark his retirement last week. Most scholars hope to achieve a major breakthrough in their career. Putnam achieved […]

April 23, 2018


BIT Partners Win $100 Million Grant from MacArthur Foundation

We are delighted to announce that our partners at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Sesame Workshop have been selected as the winners of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change Challenge, a groundbreaking award providing $100 million to fund a critical problem facing the world today. IRC and Sesame Workshop have teamed up to develop the winning […]

December 21, 2017


Changing teachers’ attitudes toward corporal punishment

Physical punishment — from hitting children with sticks to making them kneel to slapping them — occurs every day in classrooms throughout the world. Yet we know experiences of violence at school are linked to lower attendance and academic achievement as well as higher drop-out rates. In turn, lower educational attainment rates among girls can have effects across generations, leading to […]

November 7, 2017


Using behavioral insights to support early child development in the Syria response

We are living in a time when more families have been forced from their homes by conflict and crisis than at any other time since World War II. The most vulnerable among these are children. Refugee children are often deprived of educational opportunities, some are separated from their families, and all are affected by their […]

August 25, 2017


How can a letter increase sewer bill payments?

As more residents and businesses fail to pay their sewer bills, cities across the United States have had to resort to turning off water services to prompt them to pay. In some cities, sewer charges are included on the water bill and collected by the utility company. This makes it easy for cities to collect […]

May 3, 2016


How can a letter encourage us to pay our parking fines?

Like death and taxes, parking tickets are a fact of life – especially in urban areas. While no driver likes seeing that slip of paper tucked under their windshield wiper, parking tickets serve important functions – like keeping busy roadways free of impediments and making parking fair to all drivers. The problem is, many drivers […]

March 4, 2016


How can text messages encourage people to see a doctor?

If you haven’t seen a doctor in a long time, the thought of picking up the phone to schedule an appointment can be terrifying. Sometimes it’s easier to adopt an “out of sight out of mind” mentality. However, the people who haven’t seen a doctor in years are the ones most likely to benefit from […]

February 22, 2016


Stories from the States

As part of BIT North America’s work with the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities initiative, we have launched ten randomized control trials in six cities from Kentucky to California in the last six months. While we wait for the results, we thought we’d share three stories that shed some light on BIT’s methodology and let […]

February 4, 2016