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From The World Bank Group Documents and Reports Archive
World Development Reports by The World Bank Group - the complete series
-----------------------------------------The Complete World Development Report Online

World Development Report Background Papers

World Development Report 2015
Mind, Society and Behaviour

 Complete Report 2015         By chapters below

"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. This 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. They also offer new targets for development policy. A richer understanding of why people save, use preventive health care, work hard, learn, and conserve energy provides a basis for innovative and inexpensive interventions. The insights reveal that poverty not only deprives people of resources but is an environment that shapes decision making, a fact that development projects across the board need to recognize. The insights show that the psychological foundations of decision making emerge at a young age and require social support.

The Report applies insights from modern behavioral and social sciences to development policies for addressing poverty, finance, productivity, health, children, and climate change. It demonstrates that new policy ideas based on a richer view of decision-making can yield high economic returns. These new policy targets include: the choice architecture (for example, the default option); the scope for social rewards; frames that influence whether or not a norm is activated; information in the form of rules of thumb; opportunities for experiences that change mental models or social norms.

Finally, 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."

Citation: “World Bank Group. 2015. World Development Report 2015 : Mind, Society, and Behavior. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”

By chapters

 Cover - Foreword - Acknowledgments - Abbreviations - Contents, etc.
1 Overview: Human decision making and development policy
5 Three principles of human decision making
13 Psychological and social perspectives on policy
18 The work of development professionals
21 References

24 Part 1: An expanded understanding of human behavior for economic development: A conceptual framework
25 Introduction
Chapter 1: Thinking automatically
26 Two systems of thinking
29 Biases in assessing information
34 Biases in assessing value
36 Choice architecture
37 Overcoming intention-action divides
38 Conclusion
38 Notes
39 References

Chapter 2: Thinking socially
43 Social preferences and their implications
49 The influence of social networks on individual decision making
51 The role of social norms in individual decision making
54 Conclusion
55 Notes
55 References
60 Spotlight 1: When corruption is the norm

Chapter 3: Thinking with mental models
63 Where mental models come from and why they matter
63 How mental models work and how we use them
65 The roots of mental models
67 The effects of making an identity salient
68 The staying power of mental models
70 Policies to improve the match of mental models with a decision context
72 Conclusion
72 Notes
73 References
76 Spotlight 2: Entertainment education

79 Part 2: Psychological and social perspectives on policy 
Chapter 4: Poverty
81 Poverty consumes cognitive resources
84 Poverty creates poor frames
85 Social contexts of poverty can generate their own taxes
86 Implications for the design of antipoverty policies and programs
90 Looking ahead 91 References
94 Spotlight 3: How well do we understand the contexts of poverty?

Chapter 5: Early childhood development
99 Richer and poorer children differ greatly in school readiness
100 Children need multiple cognitive and noncognitive skills to succeed in school
101 Poverty in infancy and early childhood can impede early brain development
101 Parents are crucial in supporting the development of children’s capacities for learning
103 Parents’ beliefs and caregiving practices differ across groups, with consequences for children’s developmental outcomes
104 Designing interventions that focus on and improve parental competence
108 Conclusion
108 Notes
109 References

Chapter 6: Household finance
113 The human decision maker in finance
117 Policies to improve the quality of household financial decisions
123 Conclusion
123 Notes
123 References

Chapter 7: Productivity
129 Improving effort among employees
134 Recruiting high-performance employees
135 Improving the performance of small businesses
136 Increasing technology adoption in agriculture
139 Using these insights in policy design
140 Notes
140 References
144 Spotlight 4: Using ethnography to understand the workplace

Chapter 8: Health
146 Changing health behaviors in the face of psychological biases and social influences
149 Psychological and social approaches to changing health behavior
151 Improving follow-through and habit formation
153 Encouraging health care providers to do the right things for others
155 Conclusion
155 Notes
156 References

Chapter 9: Climate change
161 Cognitive obstacles inhibit action on climate change
167 Psychological and social insights for motivating conservation
171 Conclusion
171 Notes
171 References
176 Spotlight 5: Promoting water conservation in Colombia

179 Part 3: Improving the work of development professionals

Chapter 10: The biases of development professionals
181 Complexity
182 Confirmation bias
185 Sunk cost bias
186 The effects of context on judgment and decision making
189 Conclusion
190 Notes
190 References

Chapter 11: Adaptive design, adaptive interventions
194 Diagnosing psychological and social obstacles
195 Designing an intervention
198 Experimenting during implementation
199 Conclusion: Learning and adapting
199 References
202 Spotlight 6: Why should governments shape individual choices?

Select Indicators:
General notes
Classification of economies by region and income, FY2014
Table 1 Key indicators of development
Table 2 Key indicators of development for other economies
Table 3 Selected risk indicators
Table 4 Selected indicators related to risk management at the household level
Table 5 Selected indicators related to risk management at the enterprise sector level
Table 6 Selected indicators related to risk management at the financial sector level
Table 7 Selected indicators related to risk management at the macroeconomy level
Table 8 Natural disasters and climate change indicators
Table 9 Global temperature anomalies: Difference relative to 1951–80
Table 10 Aid commitments
Technical notes

Selected World Development Indicators (various years)

World Development Reports (complete series)
(in construction)

Related themes:
Related themes:
- Agrarian policies
- Agribusiness

- Aid
- Bureaucracy
- Debt
- Decentralization
- Dependency theory
- Development
- Development Economics
- Economic Policies
- Employment/Unemployment
- Foreign Direct Investment
- Gender
- Human Rights
- Human Development
- Hunger
- Inequality/social exclusion
- Informal sector
- International Trade
- Integrated International

- Labour Market
- Microfinance
- Migration
- Poverty
- Privatization
- State/Civil Society/

- Sustainable Development
- Transnational Corporations
- Urbanization

- Complete list of development themes