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Regulating for integration by behavioral design: An evidence-based approach for culturally responsive regulation
Regulation & Governance  (IF5.4),  Pub Date : 2021-03-09, DOI: 10.1111/rego.12385
Netta Barak-Corren

Democratic societies around the world face the challenge of strengthening social integration against a multitude of cultural and ethnic differences. Yet common regulations for integration – from cultural assimilation policies to general education programs – encounter objection, noncompliance, and even backlash among the very groups that the regulator strives to integrate into society. The article analyzes this challenge from a behavioral perspective, drawing on rich qualitative and experimental evidence in the context of the Israeli core curriculum regulation. The findings elucidate the joint role of identity threat and framing effects in spurring noncompliance and hindering the implementation of the regulation. I then design and test a behavioral intervention that is found to significantly increase support for the regulation, particularly among its strongest opponents. These results propose new paths to improve the regulation for integration and strengthen trust and cooperation in conflicted societies. More broadly, the project expands the framework of responsive regulation to address additional rule-takers and motivations for noncompliance and advances the application of behavioral research to the design of regulation.