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Directorate for Public Governance

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Behavioural Insights and Public Policy

Lessons from Around the World

“Behavioural insights”, or insights derived from the behavioural and social sciences, including decision making, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, organisational and group behaviour, are being applied by governments with the aim of making public policies work better. As their use has become more widespread, however, questions are being raised about their effectiveness as well as their philosophical underpinnings. This report discusses the use and reach of behavioural insights, drawing on a comprehensive collection of over 100 applications across the world and policy sectors, including consumer protection, education, energy, environment, finance, health and safety, labour market policies, public service delivery, taxes and telecommunications. It suggests ways to ensure that this experimental approach can be successfully and sustainably used as a public policy tool.

Published on March 01, 2017

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword and acknowledgements
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Why bother? Context and approach
What's going on? Insights from the behavioural insight case studies
Where to go next? Shaping a policy and research agenda
Behavioural insights case studies: Consumer protection
Behavioural insights case studies: Education
Behavioural insights case studies: Energy
Behavioural insights case studies: Environment
Behavioural insights case studies: Financial products
Behavioural insights case studies: Health and safety
Behavioural insights case studies: Labour market
Behavioural insights case studies: Public service delivery
Behavioural insights case studies: Tax
Behavioural insights case studies: Telecommunications
Additional behavioural insights case studies
Glossary
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