Evaluations of Behavioral Interventions in Labor-Related Programs II

Open Concept Office, Where a Work Meeting is Being Held

What we know about how people make decisions can be a powerful tool for rethinking how public programs should work. AIR, as a sub to Mathematica, supported the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) work to explore how insights from behavioral science can be used to improve the performance and outcomes of labor-related programs. 

Studies carried out under the partnership offered new tools to improve outcomes by combining what we know from psychology and economics, which suggest that a deeper understanding of decision-making and behavior can improve program design and operation.

One trial, for which AIR played a key role, involved designing and testing an intervention aimed at reducing work search errors among UI claimants in two states: North Carolina and Washington. 

Early in the trial development process, AIR: 

  • Collected contextual data for potential sites, 
  • Led and supported behavioral audits of state websites and other information aimed at UI claimants to identify possible behavioral barriers, and 
  • Presented recommendations to DOL about which states to include in the trial. 

AIR led all aspects of the trial in North Carolina, including intervention and evaluation design, data collection, analysis, and reporting.

For another effort, AIR designed and executed a behavioral trial to design and test a sequence of text messages intended to improve engagement in remote workforce services among WIOA/TANF youth in Ohio. 

Under the first Evaluations of Behavioral Interventions in Labor-Related Programs contract with DOL CEO, AIR staff played a key role in a trial that tested an intervention aimed at improving participation in the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) program. They diagnosed roadblocks to participation, designed an email messaging intervention to address those barriers, and conducted a rapid cycle evaluation to assess the intervention’s impacts on REA scheduling and participation rates.   

Image of Samia Amin
Managing Director
Image of Scott Davis
Principal Economist