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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. Approaching problems in development using behavioral economics thus leads to better diagnosis and to better-designed solutions. This paper sketches how to use behavioral insights to design development programs. It distills key insights of behavioral economics into a simple framework about the constraints under which people make decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Saugato Datta & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2014. "Behavioral Design: A New Approach to Development Policy," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2014-103, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp-2014-103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Ostermann & Derek Brown & Axel Mühlbacher & Bernard Njau & Nathan Thielman, 2015. "Would you test for 5000 Shillings? HIV risk and willingness to accept HIV testing in Tanzania," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-11, December.
    2. Kanbur, Ravi, 2015. "Education For Climate Justice," Working Papers 250015, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    3. Lambe, Fiona & Ran, Ylva & Jürisoo, Marie & Holmlid, Stefan & Muhoza, Cassilde & Johnson, Oliver & Osborne, Matthew, 2020. "Embracing complexity: A transdisciplinary conceptual framework for understanding behavior change in the context of development-focused interventions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    4. Datta,Saugato & Miranda Montero,Juan Jose & Zoratto,Laura De Castro & Calvo-Gonzalez,Oscar & Darlingm,Matthew & Lorenzana,Karina Josephine Orduna, 2015. "A behavioral approach to water conservation: evidence from Costa Rica," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7283, The World Bank.
    5. Sanjit Dhami & Ali al-Nowaihi, 2018. "Rationality in Economics: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6872, CESifo.
    6. Anandi Mani & Sendhil; Mullainathan & Eldarl Shafir & Jiaying Zhao, 2020. "Scarcity and Cognitive Function around Payday: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Joachim Vandercasteelen & Mekdim Dereje & Bart Minten & Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, 2013. "Scaling-up adoption of improved technologies: The impact of the promotion of row planting on farmers’ teff yields in Ethiopia," LICOS Discussion Papers 34413, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    8. 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.
    9. Elabed, Ghada & Carter, Michael R., 2015. "Compound-risk aversion, ambiguity and the willingness to pay for microinsurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 150-166.
    10. Jacopo Bonan & Pietro Battiston & Jaimie Bleck & Philippe LeMay-Boucher & Stefano Pareglio & Bassirou Sarr & Massimo Tavoni, 2017. "Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali," Working Papers 2017.47, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    11. 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.
    12. World Bank, 2020. "Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment," World Bank Other Operational Studies 33543, The World Bank.
    13. 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).
    14. Markus Jäntti & Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä, 2014. "Poverty, Development, and Behavioral Economics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 1-6, March.
    15. Bourguignon, François & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2018. "Optimal management of transfers: An odd paradox," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 143-157.
    16. 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.
    17. Alex Imas & Diego Lamé & Alistair J. Wilson, 2016. "Regret in One-Shot and Recurrent Decisions: A Cautionary Tale," CESifo Working Paper Series 5939, CESifo.
    18. Kuriakose, Francis & Joseph, Janssen, 2019. "The Origin and Nature of Behavioural Development Economics," MPRA Paper 97079, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. 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.

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