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  • Report
  • 28th Mar 2019

International development and behavioural insights

Summary report 2017-2019

We generate, apply and train organisations to use behavioural insights to address a range of social and environmental issues, from corruption to waste management. An increasing proportion of this work now takes place in low and middle income countries.

This report is a summary of international development work by the Behavioural Insights Team and its partners from 2017 to 2019. Highlights include:

Building capacity in Indonesia

We supported the tax office and social security agency to each establish a behavioural insights function, with the skills and structures to run their own projects. BIT builds capacity through applied practice, so we worked with a team of civil servants in each institution to design and test the impact of different email reminders on compliance behaviour. These projects brought forward millions of dollars in payments owed to the government and facilitated rapid adoption of evidence-based policy, ensuring better provision of public services for millions of Indonesian citizens. For example, the tax authority took the most successful email message from their randomised controlled trial and applied it nationally the following year.

Combating corruption in Nigeria

Not being able to show ID when requested by a public official leaves people vulnerable to demands for bribes. Working with a local office of the Federal Road Safety Corps of Nigeria, we tested the impact of sending an SMS reminder to people who had failed to pick up their new driver’s licence after the first notification. The message, which used loss aversion by highlighting that the recipient had already paid for their licence, more than doubled the number of people who picked up their driver’s licence in a two-month period.

Improving responses to intimate partner violence (IPV) in Georgia

We tested four different Facebook ads to encourage friends and family of IPV survivors to take supportive actions. An ad which used positive social norms about bystanders speaking out against IPV had a 50 per cent higher click rate when it offered tips for providing social support to survivors compared to connecting survivors to services. This study has generated useful insights about how to frame IPV-related campaigns in the future.

Promoting financial inclusion in Mexico

We tested a range of behavioural interventions to encourage beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer programme Prospera to make better use of formal financial services. We tripled the number of beneficiaries that made a digital transaction at an agent banking point (retail outlets authorised to carry out banking services) by incentivising agents with a cap, thermos and folder.

Increasing medication adherence in Moldova

We made it easier for tuberculosis patients to take their daily medication under the supervision of a medical professional by allowing them to submit video evidence instead of visiting a clinic. This increased observed adherence from 44 per cent to 84 per cent, improving the chances of patients making a full recovery.

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