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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Anzelone, Caitlin; Dechausay, Nadine; Datta, Saugato; Fiorillo, Alexandra; Potok, Louis; Darling, Matthew; Balz, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that a deeper understanding of decision-making and behavior could improve human services program design and outcomes. Research has shown that small changes in the environment can facilitate behaviors and decisions that are in people’s best interest. However, there has been relatively little exploration of the potential application of this science to complex, large-scale human services programs.

    This report, from the early stages of OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, provides an overview of behavioral economics, presents an approach to applying behavioral economics to social programs, shares insights from three case studies in the BIAS project, and concludes with some early lessons that have emerged from the work and next steps for the BIAS project. Additionally, a separate technical supplement to the report provides a description of 12 commonly applied behavioral interventions identified through a review of the literature. (author...

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that a deeper understanding of decision-making and behavior could improve human services program design and outcomes. Research has shown that small changes in the environment can facilitate behaviors and decisions that are in people’s best interest. However, there has been relatively little exploration of the potential application of this science to complex, large-scale human services programs.

    This report, from the early stages of OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, provides an overview of behavioral economics, presents an approach to applying behavioral economics to social programs, shares insights from three case studies in the BIAS project, and concludes with some early lessons that have emerged from the work and next steps for the BIAS project. Additionally, a separate technical supplement to the report provides a description of 12 commonly applied behavioral interventions identified through a review of the literature. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Farrell, Mary; Hayes, Michael; Baird, Peter; Brown, Susan
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that an improved understanding of human behavior and decision-making could inform program design and improve outcomes. OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self Sufficiency (BIAS) project designs and tests behaviorally-informed program innovations for ACF programs. This session will share early findings and lessons learned from BIAS’s work with child support agencies in Texas and Ohio. (conference program description)

    • Behavioral Economics and Social Policy: Designing Innovative Solutions for Programs Supported by the Administration for Children and Families

    Lashawn Richburg-Hayes (MDRC)

    The presentation gives an overview of how behavioral concepts are being applied to social policy within the context of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project.

    • Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications

    Mary Farrell (MEF Associates)

    Michael Hayes (Texas Office...

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that an improved understanding of human behavior and decision-making could inform program design and improve outcomes. OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self Sufficiency (BIAS) project designs and tests behaviorally-informed program innovations for ACF programs. This session will share early findings and lessons learned from BIAS’s work with child support agencies in Texas and Ohio. (conference program description)

    • Behavioral Economics and Social Policy: Designing Innovative Solutions for Programs Supported by the Administration for Children and Families

    Lashawn Richburg-Hayes (MDRC)

    The presentation gives an overview of how behavioral concepts are being applied to social policy within the context of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project.

    • Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications

    Mary Farrell (MEF Associates)

    Michael Hayes (Texas Office of the Attorney General)

    The presentation describes the Texas pilot of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project, a program designed to increase the number of incarcerated, non-custodial parents who apply for child support order modifications.

    • Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Timely and Regular Child Support Payments

    Peter Baird (MDRC)

    Susan Brown (Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency

    The presentation describes the Franklin County, Ohio pilot of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) Project, an initiative to increase the total amounts of child support collected and the frequency of payments.

    These presentations were given at the 2014 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

  • Individual Author: Office of Child Support Enforcement
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2016

    In the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) demonstration project, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has competitively awarded grants to seven states and the District of Columbia to better understand individuals' behavior and decision-making ability when it comes to participating in the child support program.The five-year demonstration is exploring the potential relevance and application of behavioral economics principles to child support services, focusing on areas such as modification of orders and early engagement in the child support establishment process.

    The project launched on September 30, 2014, and builds on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project conducted by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Ohio, Texas and Washington's child support programs participated in BIAS and showed promising results. The eight sites participating in BICS are California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. (Author...

    In the Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) demonstration project, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has competitively awarded grants to seven states and the District of Columbia to better understand individuals' behavior and decision-making ability when it comes to participating in the child support program.The five-year demonstration is exploring the potential relevance and application of behavioral economics principles to child support services, focusing on areas such as modification of orders and early engagement in the child support establishment process.

    The project launched on September 30, 2014, and builds on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project conducted by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Ohio, Texas and Washington's child support programs participated in BIAS and showed promising results. The eight sites participating in BICS are California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Osborne, Cynthia; Dillon, Daniel; Bellows, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The importance of a college education has risen dramatically in recent decades. Individuals with a college degree have higher paying jobs, increased career flexibility, and are less likely to be unemployed; meanwhile, broad shifts in the U.S. economy continue to trim the number of jobs available to those without a college degree, further amplifying the significance of higher education. Though many parents recognize the importance of sending their children to college, financing a college education has also become increasingly difficult. Tuition costs continue to climb, raising the barrier to entry and saddling many low- and middle-income students with substantial student loan debt. This report presents evaluation outcomes from the Child Support for College (CS4C) pilot program, an innovative collaboration between public and private entities developed to promote college savings and attendance among those in the Texas child support system through incentivized college savings accounts. (Author introduction)

    The importance of a college education has risen dramatically in recent decades. Individuals with a college degree have higher paying jobs, increased career flexibility, and are less likely to be unemployed; meanwhile, broad shifts in the U.S. economy continue to trim the number of jobs available to those without a college degree, further amplifying the significance of higher education. Though many parents recognize the importance of sending their children to college, financing a college education has also become increasingly difficult. Tuition costs continue to climb, raising the barrier to entry and saddling many low- and middle-income students with substantial student loan debt. This report presents evaluation outcomes from the Child Support for College (CS4C) pilot program, an innovative collaboration between public and private entities developed to promote college savings and attendance among those in the Texas child support system through incentivized college savings accounts. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Morrison, Carly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is...

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is statistically significant at the 10 percent level (which suggests that it is due to the Start Smart intervention rather than random chance), and represents a 9 percent increase in payments made during the first month. Start Smart did not produce statistically significant differences in payments made in the second or third month. (Edited author overview)

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