In recent years, decision makers have become interested in behavioral science and its potential to motivate and improve results for program participants. US DOL’s Behavioral Interventions (DOL-BI) project explores how these interventions can enhance the outcomes of DOL-funded programs. These resources present findings of the DOL-BI project, identify promising behavioral strategies, and discuss how behavioral insights can inform programs to help people become self-sufficient.

Using Behavioral Insights to Improve Take-Up of a Reemployment Program: Trial Design and Findings. 2017. This report summarizes the findings from a random assignment study that tested the impacts of emails sent to Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients to motivate their participation in a Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) program in Southwest Michigan in 2015. The report finds “strong evidence that the email interventions encouraged more individuals to sign up for, attend, and complete the REA program.” It cites that “emails increased the proportion of UI claimants who completed the REA program by 14 percentage points.”


Self-Regulation and Goal Attainment: A New Perspective for Employment Programs. 2017. This report provides information for researchers, policy makers, and practitioners interested in enhancing workforce programs and improving participants’ employment-related outcomes through the use of self-regulation strategies. Self-regulation is defined as the ability to control thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The report discusses evidence-based interventions and strategies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, that can help people strengthen their self-regulation skills within an employment-related context. It closes with implications for future program and evaluation efforts in this field. 


Practitioners Playbook for Applying Behavioral Insights to Labor Programs. 2017. This playbook provides a step-by-step resource for Federal labor program administrators and managers to improve their programs’ designs, performance, and outcomes using insights and strategies from behavioral science. “The Department of Labor Behavioral Interventions…team used [a] six-step process…to develop and test behavioral interventions in partnership with three DOL agencies….” These six steps are: understand the problem, diagnose the problem, design the intervention, support the implementation of the intervention, test with a low-cost evaluation, and learn and share findings.