Two economists are walking down the street. One sees a $20 bill lying on the sidewalk and says, “Look at that $20 bill!” The second economist responds, “Nah, that’s not a $20 bill. If it was, someone would have picked it up already.”
Today, nearly 200 randomized control trials later and with their findings permeating virtually all areas of public policy, the creation of the BIT and the wedding of behavioral science and public policy might seem like forgone conclusions.
Some of society’s stickiest problems aren’t a failure of intention, importance, or value. They’re the result of a failure to understand human behavior at the last mile—the final stage where desires and plans must turn into action.