Applying Social and Behavioral Science to Federal Policies and Programs to Deliver Better Outcomes

The White House: “Human behavior is a key component of every major national and global challenge. Social and behavioral science examines if, when, and how people’s actions and interactions influence decisions and outcomes. Understanding human behavior through social and behavioral science is vitally important for creating federal policies and programs that open opportunities for everyone.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration shares the Blueprint for the Use of Social and Behavioral Science to Advance Evidence-Based Policymaking. This blueprint recommends actions for agencies across the federal government to effectively leverage social and behavioral science in improving policymaking to deliver better outcomes and opportunities for people all across America. These recommendations include specific actions for agencies, such as considering social and behavioral insights early in policy or program development. The blueprint also lays out broader opportunities for agencies, such as ensuring agencies have a sufficient number of staff with social and behavioral science expertise.  

The blueprint includes nearly a hundred examples of how social and behavioral science is already used to make real progress on our highest priorities, including promoting safe, equitable, and engaged communities; protecting the environment and promoting climate innovation; advancing economic prosperity and the future of the workforce; enhancing the health outcomes of all Americans; rebuilding our infrastructure and building for tomorrow; and promoting national defense and international security. Social and behavioral science informs the conceptualization, development, implementation, dissemination, and evaluation of interventions, programs, and policies. Policymakers and social scientists can examine data about how government services reach people or measure the effectiveness of a program in assisting a particular community. Using this information, we can understand why programs sometimes fall short in delivering their intended benefits or why other programs are highly successful in delivering benefits. These approaches also help us design better policies and scale proven successful interventions to benefit the entire country…(More)”.