As the first major effort to use a behavioral economics lens to examine human services programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States, the BIAS project demonstrated the value of applying behavioral insights to improve the efficacy of human services programs.
The Work of MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science
This issue focus describes how MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science has completed several large-scale field studies, incorporated behavioral science into other MDRC projects, and educated policymakers and practitioners about how to use behavioral science to improve their programs.
Implementation and Early Impacts of the Los Angeles County Transitional Subsidized Employment Program
This report presents implementation findings and interim impact results (after one year) from a random assignment evaluation of subsidized employment for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Los Angeles County. The study examines the impact of two distinct approaches to subsidized employment.
The Change Capital Fund donor consortium invests in community groups to help expand their capacity to coordinate services in areas of persistent poverty. Using a variety of models, grantees are strengthening internal and external connections to meet the housing, education, and employment needs of local residents.
Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Incarcerated Parents’ Requests for Child Support Modifications
A behavioral intervention provided incarcerated noncustodial parents in Washington with materials about their eligibility for a child support order modification and how to request one. It increased the number of parents requesting a modification by 32 percentage points and the number of parents receiving a modification by 16 percentage points.
Which Improves Welfare Recipients’ Earnings More in the Long Term?
Findings after 10-15 years from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies suggest that while initially stressing job search for participants led to greater earnings in the short term than did initially stressing education and training, neither approach produced substantial effects past the five-year follow-up period.
In this essay, originally published in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, Dan Bloom reviews what research says about subsidized jobs programs – and how they can be a strategy both for tough economic times and for the hard-to-employ in better labor markets.
Using Behavioral Science to Improve Indiana’s Child Care Subsidy Program
Three behavioral interventions targeting low-income parents receiving child care subsidies were tested in Indiana. One combining mailed materials and a phone call increased the percentage of parents who chose a highly rated child care provider, and two others increased the percentage of parents who attended their first scheduled subsidy redetermination appointment.
Jobs-Plus – a “place-based,” workforce-development model proven to help public housing residents find employment – is about to be replicated across the country. This infographics depicts the program model, its effects on earnings, and the history of its development over the past 20 years.
Seeds of a Revolution
This working paper describes the revolution in the United States in support for the use of randomized controlled experiments to evaluate social programs. Focusing on the welfare reform studies conducted between 1970 and the early 2000s, it presents the major challenges to winning this support and how they were overcome.