Advancing a Behavioral Economics Approach to Child Support Compliance

Behavioral economics, the study of using human biases and motivation to influence behavior, is being deployed by L.A. County Child Support Services Department to increase the number of people complying with child support laws. To that end, FUSE executive fellow Amanda Wang Valentine will support the department, which handles more than 250,000 custodial cases, in applying behavioral economic approaches to child services in the nation’s most populous and economically complex county.

Amanda will identify areas that would most benefit from this approach, develop a model for the 1,400 county employees to communicate with their customers, evaluate customer views of the interactions, and develop processes to improve these approaches through proven measurement and evaluation methods. Along with providing other deliverables, she will work with county staff to write, test, disseminate, and revise all customer-related communications, including mailed letters, phone scripts, flyers, email and messages, and online videos. The county’s goal is to improve child support compliance and improve its customers’ experience with the department.