Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this is the first report, issued in September 2015, of the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST): a cross-agency group of experts in applied behavioral science that translates findings and methods from the social and behavioral sciences into improvements in Federal policies and programs. The Social and Behavioral Sciences Team Annual Report represents SBST's successful efforts in its first year to apply behavioral insights to Federal policy and to measure the impact of these applications on key policy outcomes using rigorous evaluations.
The report covers two core areas on which SBST focused in its first year: streamlining access to programs and improving government efficiency. As a result of SBST projects, more Service-members are saving for retirement, more students are going to college and better managing their student loans, more Veterans are taking advantage of education and career counseling benefits, more small farms are gaining access to credit, and more families are securing health insurance coverage. And improvements in government program integrity and efficiency are saving taxpayer dollars.
The publication of this report marks an important milestone for the Administration's policy of using behavioral insights to strengthen the ways in which Federal programs and policies serve the Nation—a policy that was codified in September 2015 by an Executive Order entitled ''Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People.'' This Executive Order directs agencies to: (i) identify policies, programs, and operations for which behavioral insights may yield substantial improvements in social welfare and program outcomes; (ii) develop strategies for implementing these insights and rigorously testing and evaluating their impacts; (iii) recruit behavioral science experts to join the Federal Government; and (iv) seek opportunities to strengthen agency relationships with the research community to better utilize findings from the social and behavioral sciences.
I. Introduction * II. Streamlining Access to Programs * a. Promoting Retirement Security * b. Improving College Access and Affordability * c. Advancing Economic Opportunity * d. Helping Families Get Health Coverage and Stay Healthy * III. Improving Government Efficiency * a. Promoting Program Integrity and Compliance * b. Ensuring Cost-Effective Program Operations * IV. What's Next * Appendices * a. Executive Order * b. Project Abstracts