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 (DOL-BI) project was launched to explore the potential of using behavioral science to improve the performance and outcomes of DOL programs. It is sponsored by the DOL Chief Evaluation Office….The project team…designed, implemented, and rigorously tested three behavioral trials in selected Labor programs. The project team developed behavioral interventions and executed trials in partnership with (1) the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Department of Labor’s Human Resources division, to increase retirement savings, (2) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to boost workplace safety, and (3) the Employment and Training Administration, to help unemployed workers become reemployed” (p.iv).

“This playbook was developed to give program administrators and managers at…DOL…and other social programs an overview of how they can use insights from behavioral science to improve the effectiveness of their programs and services. The playbook is a step-by-step guide on how to identify behavioral problems and use strategies informed by behavioral science” (p.1). “In this playbook, [the authors] describe each of these steps and walk through them to show how DOL and other program administrators can use behavioral science to identify potential improvements to their policies and programs that can be executed with minimal additional resources. [They] assume basic familiarity with behavioral science, but not expertise” (p.1).

The authors provide a brief introduction to behavioral science: “Behavioral science studies how people make decisions and act in a complex world. It draws on decades of research in the social sciences to provide a more realistic model of how we make decisions and act in real life. Other approaches commonly assume that we consider all available information, weigh the pros and cons of each option, optimize our choices, and then reliably act on them. In practice, however, people often decide and act with imperfect information or fail to act altogether, even when they may want to. Behavioral interventions test whether aligning policies, programs, and products to these human tendencies can result in improved outcomes” (p.1).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)