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How can experiments play a greater role in public policy? Three notions from behavioral psychology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2020

SCOTT McCONNELL
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Corresponding
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Abstract

Al-Ubaydli et al. provide a far-reaching, insightful and directly actionable analysis of how social-behavioral research may exert more influence over the development and implementation of public policy. Their paper offers a sophisticated understanding of the ‘scale-up effect’, or factors that influence the extent to which positive experimental effects replicate as an intervention is implemented more broadly. Using economic principles, models and analyses, they offer 12 proposals for improving the process of scaling up effective and policy-relevant interventions. The current paper outlines how their proposals share a number of complementary features with behavioral psychology and applied behavior analysis. This response considers three possible points of intersection: (1) perspectives on the importance and challenges of studying and controlling our own behavior; (2) approaches to determining the social value of intervention outcomes and the procedures for achieving them; and (3) recommendations for deploying meaningful, common measures across phases of research.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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