Nudging in public policyWhite House announced to incorporate behavioral insights more systematically into government programs

On September 15, 2015 President Obama signed an Executive Order instructing Federal Agencies to apply behavioral research results in order to make state programs more effective and efficient. Moreover, the US-administration released a report of the Social and Behavioral Science Team (SBST) on last year's projects and achievements. It suggests that outcomes and social welfare of state programs can be improved as follows:

  • A clear presentation of information about state programs (i.e. college financial aid or retirement savings) in terms of format, timing and medium enhances citizens' understanding, participation rate and social benefits.
  • Structuring choices within policy programs through default settings and the arrangement of options can encourage citizens to make better choices for themselves.
  • Streamlining the application process and sending instruction or reminder messages effectively increases the enrollment for college as well as workplace savings plans.
  • Health, retirement security, access to higher education and government program integrity, among other things, present areas for further behavioral research and its application.

Federal agencies are generally instructed to develop strategies for integrating behavioral insights, to recruit behavioral science experts and to strengthen the relationship towards the research community. President Obama explains the Executive Order as follows: “Adopting the insights of behavioral science will help bring our government into the 21st century in a wide range of ways - from delivering services more efficiently and effectively; to accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy; to helping workers find better jobs, gain access to educational opportunity, and lead longer, healthier lives."

More information  and SBST-report 

Source: The White House