Journal of Behavioral Public Administration <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> Center for Experimental and Behavioral Public Administration en-US Journal of Behavioral Public Administration 2576-6465 <p>Manuscripts accepted for publicaction in JBPA are licensed under a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License</a> (CC-BY 4.0).&nbsp; It allows all uses of published manuscripts but requires attribution.</p> <p>The CC-BY license applies also to data, code and experimental material, except when it conflicts with a prior copyright.&nbsp; Common courtesy requires informing authors of new uses of their data, as well as acknowledging the source.</p> Nudges to Increase Completion of Welfare Applications <p>The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides cash assistance to very-low-income families with children. Application procedures to receive TANF benefits, however, often involve substantial transaction costs likely to reduce take-up. Using a randomized controlled trial design, we estimate the marginal effects of a personalized telephone-call reminder to increase TANF application completion in southwest Michigan, where applicants must visit a regional public employment office at least four times to complete their application for benefits. Compared to a generic telephone call, we find that personalizing reminder calls did not increase participation in the initial appointment at the public employment office. Additionally, reminders before remaining appointments, combined with the personalized reminder call to attend the orientation, did not increase attendance at appointments after orientation.</p> Gabrielle Pepin Christopher O'Leary Dallas Oberlee Copyright (c) 2021 2021-06-29 2021-06-29 4 2 10.30636/jbpa.42.237 Public support for ‘soft’ versus ‘hard’ public policies: Review of the evidence <p>This article reviews the literature on public support for ‘soft’ versus ‘hard’ policy instruments for behaviour change, and the factors that drive such preferences. Soft policies typically include ‘moral suasion’ and educational campaigns, and more recently behavioural public policy approaches like nudges. Hard policy instruments, such as laws and taxes, restrict choices and alter financial incentives. In contrast to the public support evidenced for hard policy instruments during COVID-19, prior academic literature pointed to support for softer policy instruments. We investigate and synthesise the evidence on when people prefer one type of policy instrument over another. Drawing on multi-disciplinary evidence, we identify perceived effectiveness, trust, personal experience and self-interest as important determinants of policy instrument preferences, along with broader factors including the choice and country context. We further identify various gaps in our understanding that informs and organise a future research agenda around three themes. Specifically, we propose new directions for research on what drives public support for hard versus soft behavioural public policies, highlighting the value of investigating the role of individual versus contextual factors (especially the role of behavioural biases); how preferences evolve over time; and whether and how preferences spillovers across different policy domains.</p> Sanchayan Banerjee Manu Savani Ganga Shreedhar Copyright (c) 2021 2021-05-28 2021-05-28 4 2 10.30636/jbpa.42.220 Leveraging insights from behavioral science and administrative burden in free college program design: A typology <p>Amid concerns over college affordability, many communities and states have enacted free college programs, and the Biden administration has brought momentum to federal free college discussions. Today, hundreds of college promise programs exist in communities across the country, including at least 20 state-sponsored free college programs. While free college policies have the potential to increase enrollment by reducing college costs, substantial variation in program design likely shapes how effective these programs are at expanding college access and reducing racial and economic disparities. This paper leverages insights from administrative burden and behavioral science to develop a typology of statewide free college programs, offering a framework for examining how policy design reduces (or increases) the burden individuals are likely to incur in receiving free college benefits. To do so, we collected data on design features of free college programs (e.g., eligibility criteria, application procedures, maintenance requirements) and created indices capturing the extent to which each program imposes administrative burden and, conversely, offers behavioral supports to help students navigate the aid process. Our findings offer insight for policymakers as they design free college programs and provide context for researchers examining the effectiveness and equity outcomes of statewide free college programs.</p> Kelly Rosinger Katharine Meyer Jialing Wang Copyright (c) 2021 2021-05-10 2021-05-10 4 2 10.30636/jbpa.42.197 Designing to minimize the administrative burden of trash disposal: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in New York City public housing <p>The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is the largest public housing manager in North America. One widespread concern for residents and staff is the improper disposal of household trash and litter on NYCHA grounds. Here we present the co-produced service of trash disposal through the lens of administrative burden; official policy is unclear for residents and options are confusing or inconvenient, resulting in significant learning, compliance, and psychological costs. To reduce this burden, we redesigned the trash disposal infrastructure – new large containers placed at convenient locations – and introduced a package of indoor and outdoor posters communicating the new policy. 53 NYCHA developments, randomly assigned to treatment or control groups, were broken into 79 smaller observation sites. Weekly counts of visible trash bags and litter were collected pre-intervention and post-intervention, over a period of 21 weeks. The average number of household trash bags decreased by 25% (p&lt;.05) in treatment sites after the intervention, and the average amount of litter decreased by 16% (p&lt;.05). Providing easier access to disposal infrastructure, complemented by community-oriented and instructional communications, significantly reduced visible trash on NYCHA grounds, demonstrating that new structures and resources can effectively reduce burdens and change behavior.</p> Sara V. Flanagan Nuha Saho Deepti Nagulapally Matthew Darling Copyright (c) 2021 2021-05-07 2021-05-07 4 2 10.30636/jbpa.42.202 Everything hacked? What is the evidential value of the experimental public administration literature? <p>The rise of behavioral public administration provides new perspectives – especially from a psychological point of view – to understand public administration theories and the growing interest in using experiments to enhance the internal validity of empirical studies. However, psychology and other social sciences are undergoing a replication crisis where experimental results often do not replicate. One reason for the limited replicability is the publication bias sparked by journals’ preference for significant effects and the resulting incentive to create significant results. This study employs a meta-analytical approach to examine the evidential value of experimental evidence in public administration. It uses the <em>p</em>-curve method to test whether this body of research is dominated by selectively reporting significant results. The analysis includes 172 statistically significant findings published in top public administration journals and shows that the distribution of <em>p</em> values of these findings is right-skewed. Such a distribution indicates that the experimental public administration research contains evidential value, which means it is not solely the result of selective reporting of significant results. Although the analysis shows a good sign, we discuss important practices to further strengthen the validity and reliability of experimental methods in public administration. </p> Dominik Vogel Chengxin Xu Copyright (c) 2021 2021-06-30 2021-06-30 4 2 10.30636/jbpa.42.239 Does mislabeling COVID-19 elicit the perception of threat and reduce blame? <p>Associating a life-threatening crisis with a geographic locality can stigmatize people from that area. However, such a strategy may reduce the public blame attributed to the government because the perceived foreign threat establishes a scapegoat, which transfers that blame. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we investigated whether the “Chinese Virus” label placed on COVID-19 has elicited opposition to Chinese immigrants and reduced public blame attributed to the federal government. We used a survey experiment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a list experiment to measure perceived threat. The descriptive analysis suggested a negative attitude toward Chinese immigrants overall, in which conservatives expressed stronger negative attitudes than did liberals and moderates. While labelling COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” did not make a difference overall, our exploratory results shows that it led to a significant increase in liberals’ perception that Chinese immigrants are a threat. However, the “Chinese Virus” label showed no effect overall in reducing the extent to which either liberals or conservatives’ attributed blame to the federal government.</p> Chengxin Xu Yixin Liu Copyright (c) 2021 2021-05-30 2021-05-30 4 2 10.30636/jbpa.42.225