(Becket Adams) The U.S. government is looking to recruit members for what some are calling a “Behavioral Insights Team,” a panel of experts that will study human behavior so as to “design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals,” according to a document describing the program.
“The federal government is currently creating a new team that will help build federal capacity to experiment with these approaches, and to scale behavioral interventions that have been rigorously evaluated, using, where possible, randomized controlled trials,” the document reads.
“The team will be staffed by 4-5 experts in behavioral science and experimental design and evaluation,” it adds.
The document praises British Prime Minister David Cameron for implementing a similar “behavioral insights” team in the U.K., claiming the group has advanced the priorities of the British government while also saving it at least £1 billion within the next five years.
The document also shows the White House is already coordinating similar programs with federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
“We are already working with over a dozen federal departments and agencies on newly-designed behavioral insights projects,” the document reads, “including the Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, Veterans Administration, Department of Treasury, Social Security Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the United States Department of Agriculture.”
Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, emailed the document to a university professor requesting he distribute it to people interested in applying for the gig.
The document goes on to list the job responsibilities for the “central team”:
- Build Capacity: Work with a broad range of federal agencies to identify new program areas that could benefit from the application of behavioral insights. Help to design, implement, and test the relevant interventions using rigorous experimental methods.
- Enhance Capacity: Provide conceptual and technical support to agencies with specific behavioral insights efforts already underway.
- Convene: Lead a multi-agency “community of practice” to identify and share promising practices and common challenges.
- Create and Provide Resources: Generate tutorials and other “how to” documents to help accelerate these efforts within agencies. Manage online library of relevant documents and media.
- Help inspire new ideas: Work with external partners to identify research findings that can inform policy and practice.
Here’s the “Behavioral Insights Team” pitch: