While the behavioral and design sciences share an academic lineage, they have drifted toward different disciplines, picking up the methods of their adopted fields. This drift is unfortunate because design offers powerful tools to uncover the knowledge of system participants and make changes that fit an organization, while behavioral science offers a deep literature of techniques to understand human behavior, alter choice architecture, and measure the impact of that change. I explore the potential to integrate the two in a mixed-method study with Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. Through the partnership, I show how a design-based approach can help identify extant choice architecture and residents’ cognitive shortcuts that may be causing undesirable outcomes, mobilize participant knowledge to promote reflection that advances changing of existing structures, and experimentally test the resulting interventions’ ability to reduce eviction actions. I make the case that integrating these approaches in the context of new understanding about administrative burdens opens fertile theoretical and methodological ground for a behavioral design approach.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2020. Major: Public Affairs. Advisor: Jodi Sandfort. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 221 pages.
Using behavioral and design science to reduce administrative burdens: Evidence from Minneapolis Public Housing.
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