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‘Happy to Pay’ app to support infrastructure projects
By a Staff Reporter November 28, 2017
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DUBAI: As part of the Happiness Agenda that was launched in May 2016 by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Smart Dubai Office and Dubai Police yesterday announced a collaboration aimed at enhancing public participation, and the levels of happiness in Dubai.

 The project, “Happy to Pay,” intends to reduce people’s reluctance to pay their fines on time and, more importantly, to feel better about paying, according to the Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office (SDO), Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr.

 “Launching the ‘Happy to Pay’ service and application is an unprecedented milestone in the region and a rare and significant achievement on a global level. The technology helps transform the task of collecting fines into a community effort, and promotes the development of various sectors,” she said.

The project is a practical application of behavioural economics in policy-making, also called ‘nudges,’ which are becoming the standard in advanced government units such as Behavioural Insights Unit in the UK government, and SBST in the USA government.

Together with leading scientists from the University of Oxford and Harvard Business School, the Dubai team have developed a new version of the Dubai Police app, that allows users to pay their traffic fines, but with subtle differences that will be tested for their effectiveness in raising both compliance and happiness.

Based on data published by the Department of Finance, users will be presented with details of how the government budget is allocated in 2017 and therefore gives users a clear view of how funds from their fines will be spent. The Dubai Police app will also be leveraged to allow forms of engagement with users and to get a sense of how they feel funds should be allocated amongst sectors such as health, infrastructure, safety, and education. In this way, users will be able to better understand how their payment contributes towards public services, rather than seeing the fine as a mere penalty.

 This trial will allow the scientists to gauge the extent that transparency and participation influences people’s engagement with civic life and ultimately increase their happiness in Dubai.

“Further, aside from the valuable social benefits to the trial, there are also financial benefits, where the data is expected to show how users will pay their fines earlier, and reduce the likelihood of long-term delays in unpaid fines,” explain Dr Aisha.

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