Federal govt creating “Behavioral Insights Team” to help “influence” your behavior

Posted by: ST on July 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Another “shaking my head” moment (hat tip):

The federal government is hiring what it calls a “Behavioral Insights Team” that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com. Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.

While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

“Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals,” reads the government document describing the program, which goes on to call for applicants to apply for positions on the team.

The document was emailed by Maya Shankar, a White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, to a university professor with the request that it be distributed to people interested in joining the team. The idea is that the team would “experiment” with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs.

The document praises subtle policies to change behavior that have already been implemented in England, which already has a “Behavioral Insights Team.” One British policy concerns how to get late tax filers to pay up.

“Sending letters to late taxpayers that indicated a social norm — i.e., that ‘9 out of 10 people in Britain paid their taxes on time’ — resulted in a 15 percent increase in response rates over a three-month period, rolling out to £30 million of extra annual revenue,” the document reads.

Another policy aimed to convince people to install attic insulation to conserve energy.

“Offering an attic-clearance service (at full cost) to people led to a five-fold increase in their subsequent adoption of attic-insulation.”

Dontcha feel sooo much better now? Nudge Squad to the rescue!  I’ve a better idea: How about an official citizen “nudge squad” to “nudge” govt bureaucracy out of our lives? Oh yeah, we’ve got that: It’s called … the PEOPLE.  Get busy nudgin’, y’all!

Audacity of Nope

”Behavioral Insights Team”? I think I’ll pass …

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9 Responses to “Federal govt creating “Behavioral Insights Team” to help “influence” your behavior”


  1. Great White Rat says:

    One British policy concerns how to get late tax filers to pay up.

    Why would they want to pay up? Being a tax deadbeat is a prerequisite for being in Obama’s cabinet, no?

  2. ALman says:

    “supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.”

    How often have we heard statements similar to this one whenever another grand scheme, with another grand cost, with all so great expectations is proposed? I’d like to give a nudge . . .

  3. exitRove says:

    I got a five-year plan you can have cheap.

  4. We have already seen the fruits of this program gone awry. Remember when that leftist wench Obhammud appointed to be our UN representative repeated her rehearsed speech about how great our country was at her confirmation hearings? It was reminiscent of the rehearsed speech the brainwashed Korean War veterans recited in “The Manchurian Candidate” (’63).

    “Of its own beauty is the mind diseased.”–Lord Byron

  5. The wench to whom I refer is Samantha Power.

  6. Catseye says:

    This might worry me if I thought any section of the Federal Bureaucracy had any degree of competence in performing it’s duties. It’s kind of obvious that every last Federal employee is among the most venal and incompetent human beings to ever exist on the face of the planet. So odds are this is going to blow up in their collective face. We’ll probably end up with more people not filing or cheating on their taxes.

  7. Drew the Infidel says:

    The weak link in all this is that the general public does not have an attention span sufficient to make the gnats envious.

  8. Carlos says:

    Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.

    Gosh, who would ever think any government elitist-thought-up program would EVER have unintended consequences, or that the blind idiots that thought up this monstrosity would ever say that it WOULDN’T make both government and society more efficient?

    The saddest part is, the fools that run Congress and do the voting there will fund it, falling for it hook, line and sinker because it SOUNDS so good.

    Doesn’t make a lick of sense, and after initially implemented will continue to fund the “corrections” to the program because it isn’t doing quite what Congress had been told, but that’s OK – their evil Nazi Fascist Socialist hearts were in the right place…

  9. John W says:

    So in other words, the installation of Orwell’s Big Brother society is going to become more blatant.