Applying behavioral insights to increase rural and remote internships: Results from two Randomized Controlled Trials

Publication Name

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics


Worldwide, organizations struggle to attract professionals in rural and remote (R&R) areas. Undertaking a placement in an R&R area as part of a program of study has been shown to increase the likelihood of graduates taking up positions in locations that are difficult to staff. We applied behavioral insights to develop low cost, scalable interventions to encourage pre-service teachers to undertake internships in R&R areas of Australia. We tested the effectiveness of removing behavioral barriers when researching R&R areas and adding social triggers to make the R&R opportunity relevant. Our first randomized controlled trial (RCT) tested the use of personalized communication from an influential messenger to highlight the benefits of an R&R internship. Our second RCT tested the offer of social support by allowing pre-service teachers to complete the R&R internship with a “buddy”, rather than alone. Our behavioral approaches trebled R&R internship applications in RCT 1. These findings provide insights for cost-effectively increasing R&R internships in teaching, healthcare or social work.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Article Number


Funding Sponsor

NSW Department of Education



Link to publisher version (DOI)