Behavioral Science Projects and Partners

Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet

Academic Partner: Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College 

  • Address the litter problem and recycling in Philadelphia by examining whether lidded recycling bin distribution has an effect on recycling volume and litter.
  • Address the litter problem in Philadelphia by attempting to find the number of public trash cans that optimizes trash disposal in cans as opposed to litter and illegal dumping.

Licenses and Inspections

Academic Partner: Swarthmore College

  • Tested the effect of messaging on online registration and renewal rates.

Department of Health

Academic Partner: Saint Joseph's University, University of Pennsylvania

  • Testing the effect of inspection checks on tobacco retailer compliance
  • Testing the effect of enhanced communication on tobacco retailer compliance

Basic Systems Repair Program

Academic Partner: Swarthmore College

  • Testing the effect of messaging on response rates 

City Commissioner

Academic Partner: University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University

  • Testing the effect of follow-up on voter turnout 

Indego Bike Share

Academic Partner: University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University

  • Tested the effect of incentives on pass renewal 

Department of Human Resources

Academic Partner: Swarthmore College, University of Pennsylvania

  • Testing the effect of checklists and loss-gain framing on participation in the city's wellness program

Philadelphia School District

Academic Partner: Swarthmore College 

  • Testing the effect of identify salience and incentives on participation in an annual survey among school teachers
  • Read more about this project in the Journal of Behavioral Public Administration HERE

PHL Government Book Club

The PHL Government Book Club provides learning opportunities for City employees through literature and podcasts relating to behavioral science, human-centered design, and trauma-informed practices. It currently has over 100 members meeting quarterly to discuss the pre-selected book and ways in which the methodology discussed in the book can be applied across the City. 


Nudge - Richard Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

Moneyball for Government - A Project of Results for America

What Works: Gender Equity by Design - Iris Bohnet


Gov Innovator - Interview with David Yokum, Director, The Lab @ DC

Hidden Brain - Misbehaving with Richard Thaler

Two Guys On Your Head - Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss ways to influence behavior


GovLabPHL Author Talks

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GovLabPHL recently launched a new series of Author Talks as a way to expand upon it's already existing PHL Government Book Club and provide an opportunity for City employees to directly connect with authors. Stay tuned for information about future Author Talks! Learn more about our first Author Talk  by visiting our Past Events page.