Behavior change frameworks are the bedrock of applied behavioral science. Designed by behavioral scientists for policymakers and industry leaders, these summaries of cutting edge decision-making insights are essential for applying research in the public and private spheres. Frameworks distill strategies for influencing human decisions into simple, portable mnemonic devices or acronyms. This makes it possible for complex, theoretical insights about how people think and act to make their way into the practices of organizations across every industry and environment. To understand more about how these frameworks work in practice, check out our case studies.
What is a Framework?
The Basic Idea
CrI2SP stands for Communication, Resources, Incentives and Information, Society, and Psychology. The framework was proposed by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group in 2016 whose purpose is to evaluate the behavioral interventions carried out by the institution. CrI2SP helps evaluators identify behavioral barriers and behavioral trends amongst individuals involved in a particular project.
When tackling a problem through the CrI2SP framework, researchers and organizations might ask questions such as:
- What messages are communicated to people, and how?
- What resources are provided?
- What incentives or information are provided??
- How do societal dynamics influence peoples’ behaviors?
- What psychology-based methods are used to influence decision-making?
The CrI2SP Framework of Barriers and Intervention Types that Can
Motivate Behavior Change
Source: A Framework for Evaluating Behavior Change in International Development Operations (IEG, 2016)
Framework: commonly used tools in management consultancy, frameworks provide a methodology or systematized way of approaching a business or public policy problem.
Behavioral Interventions: strategies that have been developed based on research in psychology, decision science and behavioral economics to influence people to behave in a way that supports a target outcome. For instance, making pension enrollments automatic is based on the status quo bias, and ensures greater participation in pension schemes.
Decision science, and the field of behavioral economics in particular, has attracted significant attention over the past 20 years. So much so that organizations in both the public and private sectors have shown a keen interest in applying behavioral research to some of their most pressing business and public policy challenges. One of the ways this is achieved is through the application of frameworks to the problems they’re concerned with, in a style that is very similar to conventional management consultancy.
CrI2SP was developed in 2016 by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), in conjunction with the Bank’s behavioral hubs and various sector teams. Although a number of behavioral frameworks had been developed with similar ambitions, including EAST and MINDSPACE from the UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team, these approaches were generally used to guide new behavioral interventions, as opposed to evaluating existing interventions and policies. As a result, the IEG set about developing CrI2SP as a descriptive rather than a prescriptive framework, which sought to capture outcome trends in existing projects.
The core aim of the CrI2SP framework is to assess the degree to which behavioral considerations have been integrated into World Bank projects. It was designed to be applied at the micro-level, focusing on individuals as opposed to organizations, groups, or countries. CrI2SP sheds light on behavioral barriers (things that prevent people from achieving the desired outcome) and identifies overall trends and behavioral patterns. For example, an intervention that aims to encourage vaccine enrollment might be challenged by a lack of information or education amongst target individuals. This allows project evaluators to make recommendations for project improvement, and future project direction.
The World Bank – an international financial institution with 189 member countries and offices in over 130 locations. The World Bank works for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries. The World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations; the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Independent Evaluation Group – as the name suggests, the group responsible for the independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the World Bank Group. IEG is independent of the Management of the World Bank Group and reports directly to the Executive Board. They engage in evaluations that address systemic or strategic issues, and promote greater learning across the organization.
Since CrI2SP is a post hoc framework, it should only be used to evaluate projects or interventions that have already taken place. This means it has limited application to intervention design, and while CrI2SP may help identify behavioral barriers in a particular process, it is not a suitable tool to inform future interventions or strategies to overcome such barriers.
Also, just like the many other behavioral frameworks in existence, CrI2SP does not guarantee behavioral change. Evaluators may observe a trend in the data that appears to align with one of the CrI2SP factors, but in drawing such an association they face the risk of making a false assumption, or succumbing to the common ‘correlation versus causation’ problem. Human beings are complicated, and CrI2SP doesn’t account for the hundreds of variables that influence our behavior (nor does it claim to!). So while it can be a useful framework to evaluate whether a process or policy has been ‘behaviorally informed’, it shouldn’t be overly relied on.
Improving Hygiene Behaviors in Rural Nepal
The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which ran between 1996 and 2003, focused on improving the hygiene behaviors of people in rural Nepal. This behavior change intervention was implemented through a health and sanitation education (HSE) subcomponent, and was coded through the CrI2SP framework as below:
Communication: The project leveraged interpersonal communication by ‘training trainers’ to deliver hygiene and sanitation messages, and social marketing through mass and traditional media campaigns via radio, posters, leaflets, and songs and games. Important leaders and authority figures were identified as key influencers in the dissemination of communication materials.
Resources: In addition to the provision of trainers, financial resources were used to purchase latrines.
Incentives & Information: While conventional economic incentives were not offered to the individuals involved in the project, important information and education were provided around the risk posed by water-borne diseases, and best practice hand hygiene guidelines.
Society: The project relied primarily on community participation, encouraging a participatory approach to handwashing education. Women were identified as an important target group due to their influence as providers of family hygiene and sanitation, and small group meetings were arranged to allow women to discuss the information they were receiving and learn from each other.
Psychology: Psychological factors were not a major consideration in this project.
Behavior Change Communication in Senegal Improves Mothers’ Nutrition and Childcare Practices
Phase two of the Nutrition Enhancement Project (2006-2014) was conducted in Senegal, with the aim being to encourage improved nutrition behaviors amongst mothers. This included breastfeeding their children for the first six months of their lives, adopting appropriate feeding practices for young children, and providing children with vitamin supplements. The interventions provided information and addressed social factors related to nutritional practices. It is coded through the CrI2SP framework as shown below:
Communication: A behavior change communication campaign was launched to highlight infant and young child feeding practices as recommended by WHO and UNICEF. This includes messages around disease-preventive measures, home-based care, and care-seeking for sick children. Particular emphasis was placed on the
prevention of malaria, a major cause of child morbidity and mortality.
Resources: Insecticide-treated bed nets were provided to residents, in line with the communication campaign that focused on malaria prevention.
Incentives & Information: Specific information and education programmes were provided.
Society: ‘The Grandmother Strategy’ was developed in recognition of the fact that decisions and behaviors regarding health and nutrition are strongly influenced by grandmothers, who commonly advise young mothers on social behaviors. The first phase of the project showed that community-based communication was very effective in affecting behavioral change.
Psychology: Psychological factors were not a major consideration in this project.
Related TDL Content
Evidence-Based Strategies For Washing Your Hands – this article explores how another framework, EAST, can be applied to encourage people to wash their hands more frequently. It gives a brief explanation of how a behavioral framework is applied to address a significant healthcare challenge.
Behavioral Perspective – the overarching analysis of human behavior focused on examining a person’s environment and learned associations. Behavioral perspectives help guide the behavioral interventions that businesses and governments make in order to achieve a particular behavioral outcome.
Flanagan, A. E., & Tanner, J. C. (2016). Evaluating Behavior Change in International Development Operations.