Phiadelphia Behavior Science Initiative Conference - May 2017


In the spring of 2017, PYN partnered with researchers to explore ways to encourage young people to apply for summer jobs. Each year, thousands of young people begin applications for the program but don’t complete them. For example, in 2016 approximately 32,000 applications were started but just 16,177 were completed. We conducted an expirement to explore two research questions. First, do email reminders increase application rates? Second, is messaging promoting long-run or short-run benefits of participating in a summer job more effective at motivating application completion? Young people who began but did not complete the application were sent one of two email reminders. One version emphasized the short-run benefits of participation by highlighting the money that could be earned. The second emphasized the long-run benefits by stating that previous participants felt more prepared for future careers. A third control group received no reminder. Initial findings indicate that applications reminders had a positive impact on application completion but the type of reminder did not matter. The experiment is continuing on in 2018 to boost statistical power.