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What are we forgetting?

  • PELLE GULDBORG HANSEN (a1)
Abstract

During the last decade, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) has been the main driver of establishing behavioural public policy as a novel approach in public policy. Adhering to a set of strategic principles, BIT has succeeded in translating insights from the behavioural science literature into policy interventions to show how behavioural science may be applied to public policy in a methodologically as well as economically efficient way. However, as Sanders, Snijders and Hallsworth (2018) note in their paper, the wide-ranging transformation of public policy development that many thought possible has remained absent. In this comment, I argue that this situation itself is due, at least partly, to the strategic principles adopted by BIT, and I call for developing more ‘diagnostic’ approaches, including better tools and models, to ensure that behavioural science is not perceived as offering merely technocratic tweaks.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Email: pgh@ruc.dk
References
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Dolan, P., Hallsworth, M., Halpern, D. et al. (2010), MINDSPACE – Influencing behaviour through public policy, Institute for Government. Retrieved from <http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/publications/mindspace> (last accessed on 09 January 2013)
Halpern, D. (2015), Inside the Nudge Unit: How small changes can make a big difference, London: WH Allen.
Hansen, P. G. and Schmidt, K. (2017), ‘BASIC: En diagnostisk tilgang til udviklingen af adfærdsbaseret offentlig politik’, Oekonomi og Politik, 90(4): 4053.
Hansen, P. G. (2018), ‘The concepts of nudge and nudging in behavioural public policy’, in Strassheim, H. and Beck, S. (eds), Handbook of Behavioural Change and Public Policy, Edward Elgar Publishing (Handbooks of Research on Public Policy Series).
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OECD (2017), Behavioural insights and public policy: Lessons from around the world, Paris: OECD Publishing.
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Sanders, M., Snijders, V., and Hallsworth, M. (2018), ‘Behavioural science and policy: where are we now and where are we going?Behavioural Public Policy, 2(2): 144167.
Service, O., Hallsworth, M., Halpern, D. et al. (2014), EAST: Four simple ways to apply behavioural insights. The behavioural insights team, available on the Internet at: <http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/publications/east-four-simple-ways-to-apply-behavioural-insights/> (last accessed on 08 February 2018)
Thaler, R. H. and Sunstein, C. R. (2008), Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Toft, E. (2017), Trods regler om 48 timers tænkepause: Du kan stadig låne penge her og nu. Danish National Radio, available on the Internet at: <https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/penge/trods-regler-om-48-timers-taenkepause-du-kan-stadig-laane-penge-her-og-nu> (last accessed on 08 February 2018)
Willis, L. E. (2013), ‘When nudges fail: Slippery defaults’, University of Chicago Law Review, 80: 11551229.
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Behavioural Public Policy
  • ISSN: 2398-063X
  • EISSN: 2398-0648
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioural-public-policy
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