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Behavioral Design: A New Approach to Development Policy

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  • Saugato Datta
  • Sendhil Mullainathan

Abstract

Successful development programs rely on people to behave and choose in certain ways, and behavioral economics helps us understand why people behave and choose as they do. This paper sketches how to design development programs and policies in ways that are cognizant of and informed by the insights behavioral economics provides into human behavior. It distills the key insights of behavioral economics into a parsimonious framework about the constraints under which people make decisions. It then shows how this framework leads to a set of design principles that can be employed to design programs in areas including health, education, productivity, agriculture, finance, and the delivery of public services. Finally, it offers some reflections on the ways in which these insights and design principles can be incorporated into existing and planned programs to improve their reach and effectiveness.

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  • Saugato Datta & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2014. "Behavioral Design: A New Approach to Development Policy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 7-35, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:60:y:2014:i:1:p:7-35
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/roiw.12093
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    17. Emma Boswell Dean & Frank Schilbach & Heather Schofield, 2017. "Poverty and Cognitive Function," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Poverty Traps, pages 57-118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Vandercasteelen, Joachim & Dereje, Mekdim & Minten, Bart & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2013. "Scaling-up adoption of improved technologies: The impact of the promotion of row planting on farmers’ teff yields in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 60, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    20. Marta Barazzetta & Simon Appleton & Trudy Owens, 2020. "Hedonic Adaptation to Treatment: Evidence from a Medical Intervention," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(3), pages 613-629, March.
    21. Kuriakose, Francis & Joseph, Janssen, 2019. "The Origin and Nature of Behavioural Development Economics," MPRA Paper 97079, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Discipline and Flexibility: A Behavioral Perspective on Product Design in Microfinance," Working Papers CEB 15-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    23. Hoffmann, Vivian & Moser, Christine & Saak, Alexander, 2019. "Food safety in low and middle-income countries: The evidence through an economic lens," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-1.

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