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Link policies to behaviour for better outcomes: World Bank

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The presence of a stereotype can contribute to measured ability differences and reinforce the stereotype

Development policies become more effective when combined with insights into human behaviour, argues the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behaviour. The report has found that policy decisions informed by behavioural economics have delivered impressive improvements in healthcare and education in parts of India.

Open defecation dropped 11 per cent from very high levels, the report found, after a Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme was combined in some chosen villages with the standard approach of subsidies for toilet construction and information on the transmission of diseases.

The likelihood of default on loans became three times less likely with a simple change in the periodicity of meetings between microfinance clients and their repayment groups to weekly rather than monthly, according to the report.

Research showed that boys from backward classes were just as good at solving puzzles as boys from the upper castes when caste identity was not revealed. However, in mixed-caste groups, revealing the boys’ castes before puzzle-solving sessions created a significant “caste gap” in achievement with the boys from backward classes underperforming by 23 per cent. Making caste salient to the test takers invoked identities, which in turn affected performance, the report says.

“The presence of a stereotype can contribute to measured ability differences, which in turn reinforce the stereotype and serve as a basis for exclusion, in a vicious cycle. …Finding ways to break this cycle could increase the well-being of marginalized individuals enormously,” the report recommends.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 11:16:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/link-policies-to-behaviour-for-better-outcomes-world-bank/article6691336.ece

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