Tools for Innovation

Case Study: Behavioral Science

Behavioral Science


Government services should be easy to access, easy to understand, and effective. The impact and success of these services ultimately rests on how various elements of the process have been designed and how the users interact with it. As one of the first projects to test out the behavioral insights approach in Los Angeles, the Innovation Team is working with behavioral science experts to ‘nudge’ candidates already in the recruiting and hiring process to move at a faster pace so that they may complete their applications and steps more quickly.

CONTEXT: What was the method used for and what did we want to learn?

Government services and processes should be developed around the behavior of individuals as opposed to requiring individuals to drastically change their behavior. All humans sometimes make mistakes, procrastinate, forget, feel overwhelmed, and misestimate. It’s the City’s responsibility to design its services in a way that enables users to achieve their goals. Using a behaviorally-based approach and by testing the effectiveness of each ‘nudge’ through a Randomized Control Trial, the City of Los Angeles is looking at ways to more effectively and quickly recruit and hire a more diverse police force.

The outcome and insight:

The Innovation Team is working with the Behavioral Insights Team to include various ‘nudges’ via emails and texts that would serve as reminders to move candidates more quickly through the police hiring process. These changes are currently being tested in comparison to the department’s previous process to detect whether or not it is truly a more effective approach.


Learn more about Behavioral Science in government by clicking here.