August 2018 | Baird, Peter, Dan Cullinan, Patrick Landers, and Leigh Reardon for the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Nudges for Child Support: Applying Behavioral Insights to Increase Collections

The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and led by MDRC, uses a behavioral economics lens to examine programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States. This report presents findings from four tests of behavioral interventions intended to increase the percentage of parents who made child support payments and the dollar amount of collections per parent in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The tests included:  Mailing a behaviorally informed payment reminder notice to parents without income withholding or cell phone numbers; sending text message reminders to parents without income withholding, but with cell phone numbers; Mailing behaviorally informed reminder notices; and Mailing behaviorally informed welcome letters.

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