Behavioral science is a powerful tool for social impact, but it is far from ubiquitous among practitioners because we have not made it easy to use. During the fellowship year, Piyush Tantia will try to unpack elements of applying behavioral science that are still a “black box.” That will allow us to train practitioners more efficiently so that we may scale up the impact of behavioral science. Today, a relatively small number of experts help governments and other organizations incorporate a behavioral perspective, often landing on insights seemingly out of thin air. It is possible that those insights come from the expert unconsciously recognizing one of several patterns that recur in complex social issues. For example, administrative burdens come up as an often overlooked, but major, deterrent to people taking up beneficial programs. Tantia will explore whether such patterns exist.
Working with eminent behavioral scientists, Tantia built the world’s first, and now largest, non-profit behavioral science R&D lab, ideas42. ideas42 partners with organizations to develop and rigorously test behavioral interventions in the field. Over the last twelve years, ideas42 has worked on over 200 projects across 40+ countries across a range of areas including economic mobility, health, education, and financial health. Tantia was the founding executive director of ideas42, and currently is a board member and chief innovation officer.