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Robert Putnam: celebrating his incredible contribution to the study of social capital

There’s lots of hyperbole around, but it’s not difficult to argue that Robert Putnam is the most impactful political scientist alive. It was a strange blend of emotions, then, for those of us gathered at Harvard to mark his retirement last week. Most scholars hope to achieve a major breakthrough in their career. Putnam achieved […]

April 23, 2018


Green means go: how to help patients make informed choices about their healthcare

More than four million people are waiting for specialist care in the NHS. At worst, people can wait more than a year for treatment. In many cases people have the option to choose an alternative, nearby service with shorter waiting times—but do not do so. Why is this? Sometimes people have a strong preference for […]

April 20, 2018


Unemployed after 40 years: what next?

Keith Lowe worked at the BHP steelworks in Newcastle, a regional city in Australia, for nearly 40 years before it closed in 1999. Despite the shock of closure, Keith walked out of the steelworks’ gates for the last time with confidence in his future. Keith likes using his hands. Before the steelworks closed he took […]

April 17, 2018


Fomentando la asistencia de los directores a las escuelas en Perú

(This post is also available in English) El ausentismo docente en las escuelas puede ser divertido para los estudiantes. Si le pedimos que recuerde un día escolar en el que faltó un profesor, probablemente vendrán a su memoria imágenes de caras sonrientes, una película o un juego afuera. Desafortunadamente, investigaciones previas han demostrado que incluso unos días de […]

April 13, 2018


Encouraging teachers and principals to turn up to school in Peru

(This post is also available in Spanish) Teacher absenteeism can be fun for students. If we ask you to remember a day at school when a teacher didn’t show up, it probably brings back memories of happy faces, a movie, or a game outside. Unfortunately, research shows that even a few days of teacher absenteeism […]

April 13, 2018


Modernising consumer markets: the Consumer Green Paper

At BIT, we are passionate about ensuring that consumers benefit from well-functioning markets — from better deals to higher quality services. We want governments, regulators and businesses to, in Richard Thaler’s phrase, ‘nudge for good’. The UK Government’s Consumer Green Paper, published yesterday, encourages just that. The Green Paper is a well-evidenced account of the […]

April 12, 2018


Supporting innovation in public services: Empathy Training in Bangladesh

In partnership with the Access to Information programme (a2i) from the Prime Minister’s Office of Bangladesh, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) have been working to develop behavioural insights capacity within the Government of Bangladesh. In the first of several posts about our work together, we highlight one of the ways we are collaborating: the addition […]

April 10, 2018


Sugaring the Bill: why lower revenue from the sugar tax is probably a good thing

With the Sugar Tax in force across the UK from today, many people are discussing what costs may be passed on to consumers and how they will react. It’s an important question, but it misses the key way in which the sugar tax is likely to improve our nation’s health: reformulation. The most recent estimates […]

April 6, 2018


Why cricketers cheat (and you might too)

With offices in Sydney and London, and a good mix of Australian and English employees in each, we’ve been following the Australian ball tampering scandal with interest and sympathy (full disclosure: some of us find it easier to summon sympathy than others). As the fallout engulfs the most successful team in the history of the […]

March 29, 2018


Encouraging milk banking – please get in touch

Two weeks ago, Michael Sanders (BIT’s Chief Scientist) and his wife had a baby boy, Teddy. In this post, he talks about what happened next. They tell you that everything changes, and they’re wrong. I liked numbers before, and I like them now. Here are some: 750ml – how much blood my wife lost in […]

March 27, 2018