Nudging residents to better engagement

Behavioral Insights for Cities

Behavioral Insights for Cities” offers anecdotes into how governments can improve constituent engagement by implementing smarter messaging and design into print collateral, email, texts and online interactions.

“By breaking down processes into micro-behaviors—the smallest steps that add up to make or break overall success—we can often strip out unnecessary ‘friction,’ increasing take-up of services as a result,” says the report.

Example successes:

  • Reframing a letter increased business registrations for an online tax portal by 76%
  • Reframing a letter increased online tax filing by 42%
  • A letter telling businesses that the majority of their peers have an online account was twice as effective at boosting online tax filings than telling them to ‘Go Green’
  • Adding a picture increased signups for charitable giving by over 220%
  • Sending an email increased registrations for a public transportation pass by 11x
  • Changing the message to emphasize different career benefits tripled the number of applicants to the police force (additionally, “The changed message was particularly effective in getting people of color & women to apply”)

Published in October based on research from 25 cities, the report was produced by the Behavioural Insights Team as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative.

Download the report

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at


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