Journal of Behavioral Public Administration 2019-10-03T03:02:21+00:00 Sebastian Jilke Open Journal Systems <p><em>Journal of Behavioral Public Administration (JBPA)</em> is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary open access journal that focuses on behavioral and experimental research in public administration, broadly defined.&nbsp; JBPA encourages submissions of both basic scholarly and applied work conducted by academics or practitioners.</p> More gender bias in academia? Examining the influence of gender and formalization on student worker rule following 2019-07-10T23:24:41+00:00 Jaclyn Piatak Zachary Mohr <p>Student workers can influence professor productivity through the quality of research or teaching support provided. This is, in part, dependent on whether students follow the directions or rules put forth by the professor. While research on rule following is emerging, we know little about what influences rule following in student-professor work relationships. Using a survey experiment, we examine whether the way in which information is conveyed and who conveys it shapes student rule following. While we find students largely follow rules regardless of whether they are written or unwritten, we find significant gender bias. Male students are less likely to follow instructions given by a female professor than a male professor. Gender bias among student workers is another bias in academia that may influence productivity, but perhaps greater representation could reverse this trend.</p> 2019-07-10T21:30:31+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 The individual level effect of symbolic representation: An experimental study on teacher-student gender congruence and students’ perceived abilities in math 2019-06-25T22:31:41+00:00 Laura Doornkamp Petra Van den Bekerom Sandra Groeneveld <p>Studies on representative bureaucracy have often confirmed the positive performance effects of bureaucracies mirroring the demographic characteristics of their clientele. However, little is known about the underlying individual level mechanisms leading to these outcomes. In this study, theoretical ideas from representative bureaucracy literature and social and educational psychology are combined in a new model that explains effects of passive representation from the perspective of the individual client in the educational field. It is hypothesized that positive effects of gender congruence on students’ academic self-concepts are mediated by gender stereotypical beliefs of students. This mediation is expected to be moderated by the self-confidence of the teacher. Results of a survey experiment among students in a Dutch high school do not support the hypothesized relationships. The study does reveal gender differences in stereotypical beliefs and academic self-concepts though. Furthermore, the academic self-concept for math of both male and female students is higher if the math teacher is a woman. The study concludes with a discussion of the findings and avenues for future research on the role of stereotypical beliefs in the association between gender representation and student performance.</p> 2019-06-05T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Personality traits as predictors of citizen engagement with local government 2019-08-08T20:55:37+00:00 Victor G. Hugg Kelly LeRoux <p>Do citizens' personality traits affect their likelihood of interacting with local public officials? Using psychology's preferred approach for operationalizing personality — the "Big Five" trait framework — and two nationally-representative survey data sets from the U.S., we examine this question, and find that: (1) citizens who score higher on openness and extraversion traits have an increased likelihood of attending a local government board meeting; and (2) personality traits that predict the likelihood a citizen will contact a local government official vary based on whether that official holds an elected or non-elected position. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for citizen engagement scholarship, and outline ways to extend this research in future studies.</p> 2019-07-29T15:34:59+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Performance information in politics: How framing, format, and rhetoric matter to politicians’ preferences 2019-08-09T00:38:11+00:00 Martin Baekgaard Nicola Belle Søren Serritzlew Mariafrancesca Sicilia Ileana Steccolini <p>Performance information research has grown rapidly over the last decade with much research emphasizing the importance of how information is framed, presented, and communicated by using a distinct rhetorical appeal. In this study, we examine how the framing, format, and rhetoric of performance information influences preferences among elected politicians. We study the direct effects of how information is presented. We also argue that performance information is always a mixture of different frames, formats, and rhetorical appeals and that it is therefore important to account for interaction effects. Using a large-scale survey experiment with responses from 1,406 Italian local politicians, we find that framing and ethos-based rhetoric affect politicians’ responses to performance information. We also find that the format of presentation is important in several ways. Thus, politicians are more likely to support the status quo when information is presented graphically rather than textually, and a graphical format furthermore reduces the impact of ethos-based rhetoric and – to a lesser extent – the impact of equivalence framing.</p> 2019-08-08T20:51:52+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Rates and the Judgment of Government Performance 2019-10-02T02:57:32+00:00 Oliver James Gregg G. Van Ryzin <p>Many official statistics reported to the public appear in the form of rates, such as crimes or diseases per 100,000 people, with the choice of a base number (for example per 1,000,000, per 100,000, or per 1,000) remaining largely a matter of the choices or traditions of statistical agencies. Because prior studies have shown that people tend to judge the likelihood of an event based on the numerator alone (thus exhibiting denominator neglect), we hypothesize that ratio bias influences citizens’ perceptions of risks and conditions in society when interpreting real government statistics. To probe this hypothesis, we designed a pair of survey experiments in which a sample of US adults was randomly allocated to treatment groups receiving the same official statistics about violent crime (from the FBI) and infant mortality (from the CDC) but framed as rates with different base numbers (with an additional group receiving only the absolute number of events). We find some evidence of the expected ratio bias when violent crime is framed in terms of different base numbers, but the results for infant mortality were less consistent. For both violent crime and infant mortality, however, absolute numbers led to perceptions of the greatest risk and least favorable conditions, while individual rates (per person) led to perceptions of the least risk and the most favorable conditions. These findings suggest that citizens’ substantive judgments about risks and conditions in society may be influenced to some extent by the framing of rates by government statistical agencies when reporting official statistics to the public.</p> 2019-10-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Lessons from five decades of experimental and behavioral research on accountability: A systematic literature review 2019-07-30T00:24:17+00:00 Marija Aleksovska Thomas Schillemans Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen <p>The study of accountability in public administration has developed largely in parallel to the study of accountability in the behavioral sciences. In an effort to bridge this divide, we present a systematic review of the experimental literature on accountability in the behavioral sciences and draw lessons for public administration. We summarize the findings of 266 experiments exploring the effects of accountability mechanisms, presented in 211 articles published between 1970 and 2016. These findings are organized in four broad themes: effects of accountability on decision-making, behavior, and outcomes; and effects of the specific characteristics of accountability mechanisms. The review shows numerous desirable effects of accountability on individual decision-making and behaviors. This is of high relevance to public administration studies on accountability as it sheds light on causal mechanisms and allows for a balanced perspective on positive and negative effects of various types of accountability mechanisms. It is however not always possible to translate findings from behavioral research directly to public administration settings. We discuss the meaning and value of our findings for public administration studies and develop an agenda for future behavioral research on public sector accountability.</p> 2019-07-29T15:35:35+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Nudging healthcare professionals towards evidence-based medicine: A systematic scoping review 2019-10-03T03:02:21+00:00 Rosanna Nagtegaal Lars Tummers Mirko Noordegraaf Victor Bekkers <p>Translating medical evidence into practice is difficult. Key challenges in applying evidence-based medicine are information overload and that evidence needs to be used in context by healthcare professionals. Nudging (i.e. softly steering) healthcare professionals towards utilizing evidence-based medicine may be a feasible possibility. This systematic scoping review is the first overview of nudging healthcare professionals in relation to evidence-based medicine. We have investigated a) the distribution of studies on nudging healthcare professionals, b) the nudges tested and behaviors targeted, c) the methodological quality of studies and d) whether the success of nudges is related to context. In terms of distribution, we found a large but scattered field: 100 articles in over 60 different journals, including various types of nudges targeting different behaviors such as hand hygiene or prescribing drugs. Some nudges – especially reminders to deal with information overload – are often applied, while others - such as providing social reference points – are seldom used. The methodological quality is moderate. Success appears to vary in terms of three contextual characteristics: the task, organizational, and occupational contexts. Based on this review, we propose future research directions, particularly related to methods (preregistered research designs to reduce publication bias), nudges (using less-often applied nudges on less studied outcomes), and context (moving beyond one-size-fits-all approaches).</p> 2019-10-02T14:56:33+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 A panacea for improving citizen behaviors? Introduction to the symposium on the use of social norms in public administration 2019-08-19T01:06:34+00:00 Peter John Michael Sanders Jennifer Wang <p>Recent years have seen a growth in the use of social norm messages by local and national governments across the world. These messages have primarily been used to induce desired behaviors among the non-compliant minority by pointing to the compliance of the majority. As well as being of considerable theoretical interest, these messages have a high level of empirical and experimental support in government settings as well as a few null and negative findings. In this introduction to the symposium, we offer an overview of research to date using social norms in public administration, reviewing what ‘stylized facts’ emerge, then introduce the articles included in the symposium.</p> 2019-08-18T18:29:44+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Increasing immunization compliance among schools and day care centers: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial 2019-06-25T22:31:49+00:00 Jessica Leight Elana Safran <p>This paper reports on the results of a randomized controlled trial in which researchers collaborated with a department of health in a mid-size city to evaluate the effectiveness of targeted communications highlighting descriptive social norms to increase immunization compliance across 700 schools. Schools were randomly selected to receive a twice-annual immunization compliance report card reporting in detail their compliance rates compared to other schools of the same school type; the comparison rates reported included the school-type average, average compliance among the top 10% of performers, and the city target of 98% compliance. Shifts in immunization compliance are tracked in a city-wide administrative vaccine registry. The results suggest that there was no significant difference in compliance rates between treatment and control schools six months post-treatment. To our knowledge, it is the first randomized controlled trial evaluating the use of descriptive social norms in increasing immunization compliance rates in a school-based setting. In addition, it serves as an example of embedding a behaviorally-informed experiment in a government program utilizing high-quality administrative data.</p> 2019-06-05T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019