Mind, society, and behavior: Can banking inform food safety?

According to the World Bank, every policy relies on explicit or implicit assumptions about how people make choices. Those assumptions typically rest on an idealized model of how people think, rather than an understanding of how everyday thinking actually works.

o.brother.dumbThis year’s World Development Report argues that a more realistic account of decision-making and behavior will make development policy more effective.

 The Report emphasizes what it calls ‘the three marks of everyday thinking.’ In everyday thinking, people use intuition much more than careful analysis. They employ concepts and tools that prior experience in their cultural world has made familiar. And social emotions and social norms motivate much of what they do. These insights together explain the extraordinary persistence of some social practices, and rapid change in others.

The report shows that small changes in context have large effects on behavior. As a result, discovering which interventions are most effective, and with which contexts and populations, inherently requires an experimental approach. Rigor is needed for testing the processes for delivering interventions, not just the products that are delivered.

Full report available at: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/20597