Nudges to make tax credit claims easier as an anti-poverty tactic just shift attention from the gorilla. The promotion of policies based on tweaking choice architecture risks becoming a new ‘trickle down’ mantra, for the sake of very marginal gains. Tania Burchardt responds to the article in the October 2022 issue of the journal by Kendra Tully “Odd bedfellows: How choice architecture can enhance autonomy and mitigate inequality” … More Did you miss the gorilla? Choice architecture is not the solution to inequality
Sarah Watters investigates the evidence on the weak effect of “physical activity calorie equivalent” food menu labelling. Why might it not work in the real world, and what might this mean for policy … More Why a calorie count won’t spoil a good feast
Without deliberate investigation of the methods required to systematically improve the take-up of evidence in real-world settings, at scale, grounded in an understanding of scalability, the impact of behavioural public policy to shift behaviours where it truly matters is severely curtailed.
An implementation science for behavioural public policy is crucial if, as researchers, we want to effect real change. … More A Science for Implementing Behavioural Science
What happens when a behavioural nudge is removed? How can the momentum be maintained? Is it a “one and done” situation or will behaviour revert? Eugen Dimant, and Shaul Shalvi argue for “meta-nudging” – tapping into influencers in existing social contexts to delegate the policing of new norms. In situations where dishonesty can be individually beneficial but collectively harmful then nudging influencers could play an important part in successful change. The meta-nudge could be a useful complement to “classic” nudge … More Meta-Nudging: Putting collective momentum into behaviour change
Behavioural science has shown the importance of considering social context for policy design. The context of mental illness is often that stigma and norms stand in the way of engagement, treatment and recovery. “It’s OK to not be OK” public information can only go so far in tackling this. Research suggests that direct, intentional social contact between those with and without mental illness should be a focus for further progress in tackling this global challenge to wellbeing. In this blog the authors explain the evidence in favour of “social contact” as a targeted, behavioural approach to breaking the stigma of mental illness … More Social Contact: A human approach to mental illness stigma
What does a decade of attention to Choice Architecture in policy tell us about the effectiveness of interventions? Are some types of intervention more effective than others? Are choice architecture interventions more effective in some behavioural domains than others? In this blog the authors of a recent meta-analysis of the behavioural public policy literature covering past interventions reflect on their findings looking at the variations in effects and on publication bias in the choice architecture literature. They argue that regardless of absolute effect sizes, which need to be treated with some caution, the meta-analysis may be useful to guide policymakers in choices between types of interventions. … More Behaviour Change through Choice Architecture: Where do we stand?
In this blog Orsolya Lelkes explains Sustainable Hedonism as a strategy for the pursuit of happiness, that does not harm oneself, others, or the planet. Sustainable hedonism implies an increase in consumption for those with unmet basic needs, and a decrease in consumption for others. We can become better hedonists, assisted by public policies to ensure that basic needs are met and all are afforded the opportunity to live a good life … More Sustainable Hedonism: Not an oxymoron
People in Europe responded quickly to the invasion of Ukraine with an unusually warm welcome to refugees and direct generosity in support. In stark contrast to the response to previous crises. Tony Hockley argues that this dichotomy stems from the deep-rooted human instinct for reciprocity within groups, with strong benefits but also a “dark side”. Much of the response has been in individual action, which some argue detracts from collective effort. But these actions may have beneficial spillovers, additional to the benefits of collective charity. The policy challenge will be to ensure that the motivation for action is sustained, and that the new-found generosity sets a powerful benchmark for future crises … More War & Altruism
In the blog Sanchayan Banerjee & Peter John overcome nostalgia for “nudge plus” and herald the new dawn of Nudge+. Is this a more distinctive depiction of the research agenda encouraging people to reflect on the choices they face? Does it more successfully stress the link to the “nudge” yet transform it with its subliminal radicalism? The authors deliberate and decide. … More To Nudge Plus or Nudge+ A dilemma
In a blog adapted from Samantha Power’s keynote address at the launch of UN Behavioral Sciences Week 2021, the USAID Administrator describes how behavioral insights are impacting international development and argues that behavioral science should play a greater role as organizations like USAID develop their programming. To make progress, she says, policymakers have to understand human behavior, not on the basis of intuitions, but using new findings and concrete data. We must learn how the people we hope to serve act (or do not act) in response to everyday challenges. And rather than making assumptions or applying what works in one culture to another, we need to gather evidence and data from the specific communities in which we serve … More Making a Difference: Behavioral Insights and Public Policy