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November 17, 2015

SJDM 2016 starts this Friday November 20, 2015

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SJDM Conference
This year’s (2015) SJDM annual conference will be in Chicago, Illinois, at the Chicago Hilton, November 20-23. Late registration and welcome reception will take place the evening of Friday, November 20.

As of now you must register when you arrive at the meeting. The registration fee is $410 for regular members, $445 for non-members, and $205 for student members. Membership dues are still $35 ($10 for students).

This year’s program committee is Katherine Milkman (chair), Jack Soll, Nina Mazar, and Suzanne Shu

Tribute to Paul Slovic
A tribute for Paul Slovic that will take place Friday, November 20 from 5:30-7:30pm at the conference hotel (Hilton – Williford Room).

The program will celebrate Paul’s major contributions to research on preference construction, risk perception, and decisions by analysis versus decisions by feelings. It will highlight his influence on generations of JDM and other scholars and his leadership in using his work to address real world social problems. Ellen Peters will chair the session. The speakers will include well-known experts in risk perception and decision research including Daniel Kahneman, Baruch Fischhoff, Howard Kunreuther, John Payne, Bob O’Connor, Melissa Finucane, Bill Burns, Daniel Vastfjall, and Scott Slovic. Their presentations will build on Paul’s contributions, showing their relevance to current research and their promise for influencing future developments.We may even get Paul to say a few words at the end! The tribute is organized by Ellen Peters (Chair), John Payne, Craig Fox, and Melissa Finucane.

Neuroeconomics social
There will be an inaugural Society for Neuroeconomics mixer at SJDM. Whether you identify as a decision neuroscientist, neuroeconomist, or consumer neuroscientist, you are welcome at an evening of socializing and networking. Meet up with your old friends and make some new ones at this social during SJDM. Ian Krajbich and Crystal Reeck are organizing.

Date: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Time: 8:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: First Draft craft beer house – 649 S Clark http://www.firstdraftchicago.com/

Photo credit:https://flic.kr/p/p6HUhT

November 10, 2015

Call for papers, BDRM, Toronto, June 9-11, 2016

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What: Behavioral Decision Research in Management 2016 Conference
Where: Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
When: June 9-11, 2016

Submissions of papers are invited for the 15th biennial conference on Behavioral Decision Research in Management (#BDRM2016), to be held at the Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Canada, on June 9-11, 2016.

BDRM is the leading conference for behavioural research conducted in business schools. We encourage submissions of original work in all areas of behavioural research including, but not limited to, the areas of decision making, consumer behaviour, experimental and behavioural economics, decision analysis, behavioural finance, organizational behaviour, negotiation, behavioural strategy, behavioural operations research, behavioural accounting, and medical and legal decision making.

We are glad to announce the following keynote speakers:

Ernst Fehr, University of Zurich
Elke U. Weber, Columbia University

Submission information and deadlines

Submissions for the BDRM conference are due by December 30, 2015. Notification of acceptances will be sent in late March 2016.

Abstract should include a brief description of the research problem, the key methodology and assumptions, and a summary of major results and implications. Abstracts will be selected for oral presentation by blind review (no author names or affiliations should appear on the abstracts).

Abstracts should not exceed three (3) pages double-spaced, Times New Roman, font size 12, and can be submitted in Word or .pdf format. No math symbols should be used and tables and diagrams should be minimal.

Each participant may present only one paper. When submitting papers to this conference, you must agree to be available at any time on June 10 and June 11, 2016 to give your presentation. If you will not be available on one of these days, please arrange for a co-author to give the presentation. We will not consider date/time change requests for presentations.

We will be grouping four competitive papers into a single 75 minute session. Each author will have approximately 15 minutes to present their work. The last 15 minutes will be dedicated to questions.

Papers accepted by the reviewers will be conditionally accepted until at least one author registers for the conference.

All submissions will be conducted electronically through the conference website. The website is now open to submissions.
The conference website provides additional information about the conference, including accommodations:


Conference co-chairs:
Sanford DeVoe, Tanjim Hossain, Nina Mazar, Claire Tsai, Min Zhao, Chenbo Zhong

November 4, 2015

Economics and Computation (EC) 2016, July 24-28, Maastricht, Netherlands

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Come see Maastricht’s progress since 1580

The 17th ACM Conference on Economics and Computation will take place July 24-28, 2016 in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Conference overview

Since 1999 the ACM Special Interest Group on Electronic Commerce (SIGecom) has sponsored the leading scientific conference on advances in theory, systems, and applications at the interface of economics and computation, including applications to electronic commerce.

The Seventeenth ACM Conference on Economics and Computation (EC’16) will feature invited speakers, paper presentations, workshops, tutorials, and poster sessions. EC’16 will be co-located with the 5th World Congress of the Game Theory Society (GAMES 2016), http://www.games2016.nl/, in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

The conference will be held from Sunday, July 24, 2016 through Thursday, July 28, 2016 in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Accepted technical papers will be presented from July 26 through July 28; tutorials and workshops will be held on July 24 and July 25. Accepted papers will be available in the form in which they are published in the ACM Digital Library prior to the conference. AUTHORS TAKE NOTE: The official publication date is the date the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library. This date may be up to two weeks prior to the first day of the conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work.

The focus of the conference is research at the interface of economics and computation related to (but not limited to) the following three non-exclusive focus areas: Theory and Foundations; Artificial Intelligence and Applied Game Theory; Experimental, Empirical, and Applications

Authors can designate a paper for one or two of these focus areas. Each area has dedicated Senior Program Committee (SPC) and Program Committee (PC) members to allow appropriate review of papers.

We are committed to accepting papers of the very highest quality. If we receive a large number of such submissions we will hold some sessions in parallel, grouping these sessions by topic rather than by area.

EC publishes relevant papers on topics and methodologies that include:

Auction theory
Automated agents
Bargaining and negotiation
Behavioral models and experiments
Computational game theory
Computational social choice
Consumer search and online behavior
Crowdsourcing and collective intelligence Econometrics Economics of information Equilibrium computation Experience with e-commerce systems and markets Foundations of incentive compatibility Game-theoretic models of e-commerce and the Internet Information elicitation Machine learning Market algorithms Market design Market equilibrium Matching Mechanism design Platforms and services Prediction markets Preferences and decision theory Price of anarchy Privacy Recommender systems Reputation and trust systems Revenue optimization, pricing, and payments Social networks Sponsored search and other electronic marketing Trading agents Usability and human factors in e-commerce applications User-generated content and peer production


Submissions should be made at http://www.sigecom.org/ec16/papers.html

The conference is soliciting full papers (as well as workshop and tutorial proposals; see below) on all aspects of research covered by the conference. Submitted papers should clearly establish the research contribution, its relevance, and its relation to prior research. All submissions must be made in the appropriate format, and within a specified length limit; details and a LaTeX template can be found at the submission site. Additional pages beyond the length limit may be included as appendices, but will only be read at the discretion of the reviewers.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: To accommodate the publishing traditions of different fields, authors of accepted papers can ask that only a one page abstract of the paper appear in the proceedings, along with a URL pointing to the full paper. Authors should guarantee the link to be reliable for at least two years. This option is available to accommodate subsequent publication in journals that would not consider results that have been published in preliminary form in a conference proceedings. Such papers must be submitted electronically and formatted just like papers submitted for full-text publication.

Simultaneous submission of results to another conference with published proceedings is not allowed. Results previously published or presented at another primarily archival conference prior to EC, or published (or accepted for publication) at a journal prior to the submission deadline to EC, will not be considered. Simultaneous submission of results to a journal is allowed only if the author intends to publish the paper as a one page abstract in EC’16. Papers that are accepted and appear as a one page abstract can be subsequently submitted for publication in a journal but may not be submitted to any other conference that has a published proceedings.

A separate call for posters will be announced later.


The conference is soliciting proposals for tutorials and workshops to be held in conjunction with the conference. Tutorial proposals should contain the title of the tutorial, a two-page description of the topic matter, the names and short biographies of the tutor(s), and dates/venues where earlier versions of the tutorial were given (if any). Workshop proposals should contain the title of the workshop, the names and short biographies of the organizers, and the names of confirmed or candidate participants. Workshop proposals should also include a two-page description describing the theme, the reviewing process for participants, the organization of the workshop, and required facilities for the workshop. Informal ideas for workshops or tutorials can also be sent without a full proposal to the workshop and tutorial chairs at any time. Submission information can be found on the conference website.


February 23, 2016: Full electronic paper submissions due. Please see http://www.sigecom.org/ec16/papers.html
March 8, 2016: Workshop and Tutorial proposals due. Send to: ec16-workshops-chair@acm.org and ec16-tutorial-chair@acm.org respectively March 22, 2016: Tutorial & workshop proposal accept/reject notifications April 19, 2016: Reviews sent to authors for author feedback April 22, 2016: Author responses due May 10, 2016: Paper accept/reject notifications May 30, 2016: Camera-ready version of accepted papers due July 24-25, 2016: Conference Workshops and Tutorials July 26-28, 2016: Conference Technical Program


General Chair:
Vincent Conitzer, Duke University

Program Chairs:
Dirk Bergemann, Yale University
Yiling Chen, Harvard University

Workshop Chair:
Sebastien Lahaie, Microsoft Research

Tutorial Chair:
Ron Lavi, Technion

Senior Program Committee:

Theory and Foundations:

Moshe Babaioff, Microsoft Research
Alessandro Bonatti, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Gabriel Carroll, Stanford University Shuchi Chawla, University of Wisconsin–Madison Richard Cole, New York University Costis Daskalakis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Michal Feldman, Tel Aviv University Jason Hartline, Northwestern University Robert Kleinberg, Cornell University & Microsoft Research Fuhito Kojima, Stanford University Vahab Mirrokni, Google Michael Ostrovsky, Stanford University Aaron Roth, University of Pennsylvania Philipp Strack, University of California, Berkeley Eva Tardos, Cornell University Glen Weyl, Microsoft Research

Artificial Intelligence and Applied Game Theory

Martin Bichler, TU München
Sushil Bikhchandani, University of California, Los Angeles Felix Brandt, TU München Arpita Ghosh, Cornell University Ian Kash, Microsoft Research Kate Larson, University of Waterloo Ariel Procaccia, Carnegie Mellon University Jenn Wortman Vaughan, Microsoft Research Rakesh Vohra, University of Pennsylvania Michael Wellman, University of Michigan

Experimental, Empirical, and Applications

Itai Ashlagi, Stanford University
Dan Goldstein, Microsoft Research
Panos Ipeirotis, New York University
Jakub Kastl, Princeton University
Dan Levin, Ohio State University
Muthu Muthukrishnan, Rutgers University
Georgios Zervas, Boston University

Image Credit: “Maastricht-Bellomonte” by Philippo Bellomonte – Drawing. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maastricht-Bellomonte.jpg#/media/File:Maastricht-Bellomonte.jpg

October 30, 2015


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Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the week’s meals. Unfortunately, people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even experts’ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught?

In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. The Good Judgment Project involves tens of thousands of ordinary people—including a Brooklyn filmmaker, a retired pipe installer, and a former ballroom dancer—who set out to forecast global events. Some of the volunteers have turned out to be astonishingly good. They’ve beaten other benchmarks, competitors, and prediction markets. They’ve even beaten the collective judgment of intelligence analysts with access to classified information. They are “superforecasters.”

In this groundbreaking and accessible book, Tetlock and Gardner show us how we can learn from this elite group. Weaving together stories of forecasting successes (the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound) and failures (the Bay of Pigs) and interviews with a range of high-level decision makers, from David Petraeus to Robert Rubin, they show that good forecasting doesn’t require powerful computers or arcane methods. It involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course. Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future—whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life—and is destined to become a modern classic.

Philip E. Tetlock is the Annenberg University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and holds appointments in the psychology and political science departments and the Wharton School of Business. He and his wife, Barbara Mellers, are the co-leaders of the Good Judgment Project, a multi-year forecasting study. He is also the author of Expert Political Judgment and (with Aaron Belkin) Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics.

Dan Gardner is a journalist and the author of Risk and Future Babble: Why Pundits are Hedgehogs and Foxes Know Best.

October 23, 2015

The SJDM Newsletter is ready for download

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The quarterly Society for Judgment and Decision Making newsletter can be downloaded from the SJDM site:


This issue features the current program for the upcoming conference.

Decision Science News / SJDM Newsletter Editor

October 15, 2015

Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data (e.g., Numbers)

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Check out this announcement of a new book by Paul Slovic and son: Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data

We live in the age of Big Data, awash in a sea of ever-expanding information—a constant deluge of facts, statistics, models, and projections. The human mind is quickly desensitized by information presented in the form of numbers, and yet many important social and environmental phenomena, ranging from genocide to global climate change, require quantitative description. The essays and interviews in Numbers and Nerves explore the quandary of our cognitive responses to quantitative information, while also offering compelling strategies for overcoming insensitivity to the meaning of such information. With contributions by journalists, literary critics, psychologists, naturalists, activists, and others, this book represents a unique convergence of psychological research, discourse analysis, and visual and narrative communication. Cognitive science has increasingly come to understand that we, as a species, think best when we allow numbers and nerves, abstract information and experiential discourse, to work together. This book provides a roadmap to guide that collaboration. It will be invaluable to scholars, educators, profes- sional communicators, and anyone who struggles to grasp the meaning behind the numbers.


  • Foreword: Headbone and Hormone: Adventures in the Arithmetic of Life by Robert Michael Pyle
  • Introduction: The Psychophysics of Brightness and the Value of a Life by Scott Sovic & Paul Slovic
  • The More Who Die, the Less We Care: Psychic Numbing and Geocide by Paul Slovic & Daniel Västfjäll
  • Psuedoinefficacy and the Arithmetic of Compassion by Daniel Västfjäll, Paul Slovic, & Marcus Mayorga
  • The Prominence Effect: Confronting the Collapse of Humanitarian Values in Foreign Policy Decisions by Paul Slovic
  • The Age of Numbing by Robert Jay Lifton & Greg Mitchell
  • Epidemic Disease as Structural Violence: An Excerpt from Never Again? Reflections on Human Values and Human Rights by Paul Farmer
  • The Power of One by Nicholas D. Kristof
  • From One to Too Many by Kenneth Helphand
  • The Wreck of Time by Annie Dillard
  • Science, Eloquence, and the Asymmetry of Trust: What’s at Stake in Climate Change Fiction by Scott Slovic
  • Healing Rwanda by Terry Tempest Williams
  • When Words Fail: Climate Change Activists Have Chosen a Magic Number by Bill McKibben
  • The Blood Root of Art by Rick Bass
  • Reacting to Information in a Personal, Moral Way: An Interview with Homero & Betty Aridjis
  • Countering the Anesthesia of Destruction: An Interview with Vandana Shiva
  • The Meaning of One Data Point: An Interview with Sandra Steingraber
  • Introspection, Social Transformation, and the Trans-Scalar Imaginary: An Interview with Chris Jordan

October 7, 2015

Why is restaurant cutlery sometimes magnetic?

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Two computational social science types I know were recently discussing why restaurant cutlery is sometimes magnetized. One recounted an incident in which he asked the waitstaff, and they said it was due to a cutlery catcher magnet in the dishwasher. Do a Web search and you will see that many people have the same suspicion. And while you’re on the Web, do a search on cutlery catcher magnets. They are usually mounted on commercial kitchen trash can lids.


We think this common explanation is wrong. The average piece of flatware just doesn’t come into contact with the catcher magnet with enough frequency or friction to magnetize it.

Here’s our theory.

Our first job was as a short-order cook at a country club. Our utensils were magnetized. We noticed we had a ball burnishing machine in the kitchen they would dump the cutlery in, like this:

Turns out ball burnishers can use magnets to move the balls around:

From http://www.steelmedia.com/burnishing-media-applications.htm:
“Techbuff steel burnishing media is used mainly in vibratory finishing machines, tumblers, rotary barrels, harperizers, centrifugal finishing equipment and magnetic polishers for mass finishing polishing processes.”

From http://riograndeblog.com/2013/10/magnetic-finishing-create-an-irresistibly-attractive-finish/:
“So how does a magnetic finisher work? In the base of the finisher, a motor spins a set of positive and negatively charged magnets. The magnetic field pulls the pins around the circumference of the bowl sitting on the base, causing the pins to collide with the objects inside, burnishing them to a shiny finish. ”

From https://www.google.com/patents/US1050534:
Magnetic force may be applied to the balls …”

And these machines can have magnetic lids to prevent ball loss:

From http://www.moreillon-gastro.ch/en/index.php?page=3&pageId=0&lang=en:
Ball Burnisher with Magnetic Lid which “reduces loss of balls by preventing stray balls from rolling off the machine”

And it seems to be known that ball burnishers magnetize things from this long link:
“A steel burnisher becomes slightly magnetic

Accordingly, we think the magnetic field in ball burnishers is the real cause of magnetized restaurant flatware.

October 1, 2015

A volume of useful psychological research

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On rare occasion, we read the table of contents of a journal and say to ourselves “Hmm. Most of those articles sound useful and interesting.” This is one of those times. The articles below are taking from the 2015 volume of Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Every article seems to address a real-world problem. Pretty cool. Check it out.

Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Volume 2, Number 1, October 2015

Math Anxiety: A Factor in Math Achievement Not to Be Ignored
by Sian L. Beilock and Erin A. Maloney

The Value of Standardized Testing: A Perspective From Cognitive Psychology
by Aaron S. Benjamin and Hal Pashler

Simple Practice Doesn’t Always Make Perfect: Evidence From the Worked Example Effect
by Julie L. Booth, Kelly M. McGinn, Laura K. Young, and Christina Barbieri

Research on Learning and Instruction: Implications for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
by Susan R. Goldman and James W. Pellegrino

Deeper Learning With Advances in Discourse Science and Technology
by Arthur C. Graesser

Cognitive Science Research Can Improve Undergraduate STEM Instruction: What Are the Barriers?
by Charles Henderson, José P. Mestre, and Linda L. Slakey

Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Vaccination Policy Effectiveness
by Cornelia Betsch, Robert Böhm, and Gretchen B. Chapman

Improving Patient Care Through Medical Image Perception Research
by Elizabeth A. Krupinski

From Cognitive Science to Dementia Assessment
by Robert H. Logie, Mario A. Parra, and Sergio Della Sala

The Potential for Literacy to Shape Lifelong Cognitive Health
by Elizabeth A. L. Stine-Morrow, Erika K. Hussey, and Shukhan Ng

The Impacts of Video Games on Cognition (and How the Government Can Guide the Industry)
C. Shawn Green and Aaron R. Seitz

Evaluating and Mitigating Risk
Accuracy of Intelligence Forecasts From the Intelligence Consumer’s Perspective
by David R. Mandel

Multiple-Target Visual Search Errors: Overview and Implications for Airport Security
by Stephen R. Mitroff, Adam T. Biggs, and Matthew S. Cain

Debiasing Decisions: Improved Decision Making With a Single Training Intervention
by Carey K. Morewedge, Haewon Yoon, Irene Scopelliti, Carl W. Symborski, James H. Korris, and Karim S. Kassam

The Cognitive Psychology of Sensitivity to Human Fatalities: Implications for Life-Saving Policies
by Christopher Y. Olivola

Meeting Three Challenges in Risk Communication: Phenomena, Numbers, and Emotions
by Tim Rakow, Claire L. Heard, and Ben R. Newell

Is the Technology in Your Car Driving You to Distraction?
by David L. Strayer

The Policy Implications of Research on Fingerprint Examination Tasks
by Brandi Emerick, John Vanderkolk, and Thomas Busey

Eyewitness Identification and the Accuracy of the Criminal Justice System
by Steven E. Clark, Aaron S. Benjamin, John T. Wixted, Laura Mickes, and Scott D. Gronlund

Improving Society
Gendered Language: Psychological Principles, Evolving Practices, and Inclusive Policies
by Rebecca S. Bigler and Campbell Leaper

Video Captions Benefit Everyone
by Morton Ann Gernsbacher

Increasing Donations and Improving Donor Experiences: Lessons From Decision Science
by Daniel M. Oppenheimer

Improving Social Measurement by Understanding Interaction in Survey Interviews
by Michael F. Schober and Frederick G.Conrad

Information about the Issue
Susan T. Fiske
Princeton University

Head Guest Editor:
Jeremy M. Wolfe
Psychonomic Society, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Guest Editors:
Kenneth J. Malmberg
Society for Mathematical Psychology, University of South Florida
Nora S. Newcombe
Cognitive Science Society, Temple University
Mandeep K. Dhami
Society for Judgment and Decision Making, Middlesex University
Danielle S. McNamara
Society for Text and Discourse, Arizona State University

September 23, 2015

Obama issues executive order directing Federal agencies to apply behavioral insights

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President Obama has issued an executive order that will interest the readers of this blog. Read it below.


A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights — research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them — can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people.

Where Federal policies have been designed to reflect behavioral science insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for the individuals, families, communities, and businesses those policies serve. For example, automatic enrollment and automatic escalation in retirement savings plans have made it easier to save for the future, and have helped Americans accumulate billions of dollars in additional retirement savings. Similarly, streamlining the application process for Federal financial aid has made college more financially accessible for millions of students.

To more fully realize the benefits of behavioral insights and deliver better results at a lower cost for the American people, the Federal Government should design its policies and programs to reflect our best understanding of how people engage with, participate in, use, and respond to those policies and programs. By improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Government, behavioral science insights can support a range of national priorities, including helping workers to find better jobs; enabling Americans to lead longer, healthier lives; improving access to educational opportunities and support for success in school; and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.

NOW, THEREFORE, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1. Behavioral Science Insights Policy Directive.

(a) Executive departments and agencies (agencies) are encouraged to:

(i) identify policies, programs, and operations where applying behavioral science insights may yield substantial improvements in public welfare, program outcomes, and program cost effectiveness;

(ii) develop strategies for applying behavioral science insights to programs and, where possible, rigorously test and evaluate the impact of these insights;

(iii) recruit behavioral science experts to join the Federal Government as necessary to achieve the goals of this directive; and

(iv) strengthen agency relationships with the research community to better use empirical findings from the behavioral sciences.

(b) In implementing the policy directives in section (a), agencies shall:

(i) identify opportunities to help qualifying individuals, families, communities, and businesses access public programs and benefits by, as appropriate, streamlining processes that may otherwise limit or delay participation — for example, removing administrative hurdles, shortening wait times, and simplifying forms;

(ii) improve how information is presented to consumers, borrowers, program beneficiaries, and other individuals, whether as directly conveyed by the agency, or in setting standards for the presentation of information, by considering how the content, format, timing, and medium by which information is conveyed affects comprehension and action by individuals, as appropriate;

(iii) identify programs that offer choices and carefully consider how the presentation and structure of those choices, including the order, number, and arrangement of options, can most effectively promote public welfare, as appropriate, giving particular consideration to the selection and setting of default options; and

(iv) review elements of their policies and programs that are designed to encourage or make it easier for Americans to take specific actions, such as saving for retirement or completing education programs. In doing so, agencies shall consider how the timing, frequency, presentation, and labeling of benefits, taxes, subsidies, and other incentives can more effectively and efficiently promote those actions, as appropriate. Particular attention should be paid to opportunities to use nonfinancial incentives.

(c) For policies with a regulatory component, agencies are encouraged to combine this behavioral science insights policy directive with their ongoing review of existing significant regulations to identify and reduce regulatory burdens, as appropriate and consistent with Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), and Executive Order 13610 of May 10, 2012 (Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens).

Sec. 2. Implementation of the Behavioral Science Insights Policy Directive. (a) The Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST), under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and chaired by the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, shall provide agencies with advice and policy guidance to help them execute the policy objectives outlined in section 1 of this order, as appropriate.

(b) The NSTC shall release a yearly report summarizing agency implementation of section 1 of this order each year until 2019. Member agencies of the SBST are expected to contribute to this report.

(c) To help execute the policy directive set forth in section 1 of this order, the Chair of the SBST shall, within 45 days of the date of this order and thereafter as necessary, issue guidance to assist agencies in implementing this order.

Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to a department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) Independent agencies are strongly encouraged to comply with the requirements of this order.

(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


September 15, 2015.

September 15, 2015

The counterfactual GPS hits XKCD

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Back in 2010 we published a post on an idea we had called the counterfactual GPS. Have a look.

As you can see above, today, XKCD had the same idea. Did XKCD author Randall Munroe steal it? Probably not. Does it make us feel good that such a clever and creative person as Randall Munroe had the same idea? Oh yes, yes it does.