«The federal government found a clever way to make a little extra money last summer.
Some vendors who provide federal agencies with goods and services as varied as paper clips and translators were given a slightly different version of the form used to report rebates they owe the government.
The only difference: The signature box was at the beginning of the form rather than the end. The result: a rash of honesty. Companies using the new form acknowledged they owed an extra $1.59 million in rebates during the three-month experiment, apparently because promising to be truthful at the outset actually caused them to answer more truthfully.
The altered form is among the early successes of a year-old effort by the Obama administration to apply academic research on human behavior to the business of running a government. The idea is that a little science might help the government collect taxes, distribute benefit payments and even help people find jobs, get an education or save for retirement. (...)»
BinyaminAppelbaum, «Behaviorists Show the U.S. How to Improve GovernmentOperations», NYT, Sept 29, 2015
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