Created an open data program that prioritized cross-departmental collaboration to secure the best possible equitable outcomes for residents.
Helped the city save money and amplify the impact of its programs and services such as reducing litter, social rewards and school district meetings with teachers through the Philadelphia Behavioral Science Initiative.
Through a detailed and thoughtful analysis of the City’s homeless intake system to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
Spreading Behavioral Insights
The results of the trial were so promising that Mayor Kenny and his administration established the Philadelphia Behavioral Science Initiative (PBSI) in 2016 to continue improving the City’s delivery of services. In 2017, PBSI grew to become a key branch of GovlabPHL, the City’s multi-agency team focused on bringing evidence-based and data-driven practices to city programs and initiatives through cross-sector collaboration.
Now when departments have a policy issue or a possible project, they are teamed with local academic researchers whose expertise matches the nature of the work. From there, the City and academics collaborate to determine the goals and the kind of data that will need to be collected, and to create a data-licensing agreement. The trials run through PBSI have already helped the City save money and amplify the impact of its programs and services, including reducing litter, as well as putting social rewards and identity salience to the test with school district teachers. Each year, the City of Philadelphia co-hosts an annual conference to generate new research partnerships and ideas.
The relationship through PBSI is a win-win for everyone, with the City working to better serve residents, while academics are able to test hypotheses that could turn into potentially publishable studies.