Framing the Message: Using Behavioral Economics to Engage TANF Recipients

Publication Date: March 10, 2016

Introduction

This report presents findings from an intervention designed to increase the number of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients who “reengaged” in Los Angeles County’s welfare-to-work program.

Two behaviorally informed notices went out to different groups of participants:

  • A notice highlighting the losses they might face by not attending the reengagement appointment; and
  • A notice highlighting the benefits they might receive by attending.

A third control group did not receive either behaviorally informed notice.

Participants received the notice one week before their appointment. The test found that receiving a behaviorally informed notice increased the percentage of group members who engaged in the program within 30 days of their scheduled reengagement appointment, with the increase driven by the loss notice.

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