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Using prize draws as an incentive

Businesses and academics have long known that lotteries and prize draws can be a cheap and effective way of encouraging behaviour – witness the number of surveys that offer a prize for completion. However, despite this well-worn tradition of using prize-draws, governments have traditionally focused on more blunt subsidies or penalties, and have been less […]

February 7, 2017

Join the London team

Advisor, Crime, Justice and Home Affairs Permanent: 39 hours per week Salary range: £30,000 – £45,000 per annum, plus benefits Based in Westminster The Home Affairs and Security team in London is looking for two exceptional candidates to join as Advisors, working on crime, justice and home affairs. The team works closely with the Home Office, the Ministry of […]

January 25, 2017

Boosting economic growth

One area where behavioural economics has had surprisingly little impact – rather ironically – has been economic policy. The UK’s Industrial Strategy, published today, starts to change this. Adam Smith wrote extensively of the role of sentiment. Keynes highlighted how shocks and booms are driven by ‘animal spirits’. More recent work by Akerlof and Shiller, […]

January 23, 2017

Expanding mental health provision: the PM’s speech

‘A broken leg gets treated in few hours. But a broken spirit will take months, and often won’t be treated at all’. It’s a haunting comparison often used by Richard Layard, and a theme picked up by the Prime Minister in her first major domestic policy intervention. The economic and social costs are almost as […]

January 12, 2017

Job opportunities in London

Research Advisor Permanent: 39 hours per week Salary range: £30,000 – £45,000 per annum, plus benefits Based in Westminster The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is recruiting a Research Advisor, who will support the Chief Scientist to design, conduct, and evaluate randomised controlled trials (RCTs), with a particular focus on RCTs in education. The full job […]

January 5, 2017

A Christmas Carol: inspiration for behavioural interventions?

Those familiar with Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol will know that the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve comes about from an unusual, yet remarkably successful, behavioural intervention. Scrooge (a notorious miser) is visited by four ghosts over the course of one night who show him his past, present and future. He wakes up […]

December 20, 2016

Behavioural finance in the Lab

Some of the earliest and most impressive applications of behavioural science focused on helping people to save for their retirement. In particular, there is the pioneering work of Brigitte Madrian, David Laibson, John Beshears and James Choi demonstrating the impact of automatically enrolling employees into workplace pension plans, and Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi’s on […]

December 15, 2016

Embracing insights from many sources

Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) often represent the best, fastest and most statistically straightforward way of determining whether a new intervention works. This is why RCTs are central to what we do at the Behavioural Insights Team. We can’t be sure that an intervention is going to translate from a lab study to the field, or […]

December 8, 2016

Going global: A new report on applying behavioural insights to health

Testing for diabetes can be a pain. The cheapest and most effective test requires people to fast for up to 10 hours beforehand. And if people lack any symptoms, they may also have little awareness or motivation to get tested in a timely way. The result can be higher care costs and worse patient outcomes. […]

November 30, 2016

Making room for expertise in democracy

There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about whether expertise is falling out of fashion. It was a theme picked up in a lecture on Tuesday by Beth Noveck, Enough of experts? Data, democracy and the future of expertise. Beth has spent time in both the White House, and in No10 (we actually […]

November 25, 2016