AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: REDESIGNING LIBRARIES AND NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IN THE AGE OF ONLINE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE APPLICATIONS
Author: MARC HEBERT (University of South Florida)   
Date/Time: Wed., 8:15 PM
Co-Author(s): MARC HEBERT (University of South Florida) 
Abstract: In their 2008 book "Nudge," behavioral economist Richard Thaler and lawyer Cass Sunstein describe how public policies could be more effective if designed around people’s behavior. This would encourage certain behaviors that would benefit the individual as well as the greater public without limiting the ability to choose the best course action for oneself. They termed this process “choice architecture.” Drawing from their work and ongoing dissertation research, I analyze the choice architecture of Florida’s Internet-based application system for Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (i.e., “food stamps”). Florida’s online application for public assistance is known as the Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency program (ACCESS). Floridians throughout the state visit their local library or nonprofit organization for a free computer and assistance with completing the ACCESS application. Yet librarians and most employees at nonprofit organizations are not trained welfare workers. Additionally, libraries and the majority of nonprofits in Florida do not receive any additional funding for providing such services. Drawing upon Thaler and Sunstein’s work and situated within the anthropological literature on poverty studies, this paper will discuss how I am working with libraries and nonprofits to redesign the physical space, computer desktop and signage to facilitate applicants through the process of applying for public assistance.

Program Number: 1-0775
Session Title: APPLYING THEORY THRU DESIGN PROJECTS
Session Sponsor: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Wed., 8:00 PM-9:45 PM
Organizer(s): MARC HEBERT (University of South Florida) 
Chair(s): MARC HEBERT (University of South Florida)  
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