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Britain’s census matters. Can we boost participation and save money?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) plays a vital role in British life. Without ONS statistics, government and local authorities would not be able to calculate or understand inflation, immigration, or employment reliably, nor could government design and implement effective policies to manage those issues. Statistics determine how public funds are allocated and spent in […]

September 13, 2017


A first for children’s social care: findings from our new trial

For children growing up in turbulent households the outcomes are stark. Young people in receipt of social care attain drastically lower than average GCSE grades, have an increased chance of suffering poor physical and mental health and, worryingly, are more likely to have offspring who endure a similarly detrimental childhood. Social services play a crucial […]

July 7, 2017


Texting parents about tests and homework can improve maths results and reduce absenteeism

Today the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published the results of a trial showing that texting parents information about upcoming tests and homework directly improved their child’s attainment in maths by the equivalent of an extra month in the classroom. I ran the trial as part of my PhD, with Harvard Kennedy School’s Todd Rogers and […]

July 15, 2016


How can a letter increase sewer bill payments?

As more residents and businesses fail to pay their sewer bills, cities across the United States have had to resort to turning off water services to prompt them to pay. In some cities, sewer charges are included on the water bill and collected by the utility company. This makes it easy for cities to collect […]

May 3, 2016


Behavioural Insights and Healthier Lives: our new report with VicHealth

Public health is about as behavioural as it gets. The leading causes of death are dominated by behavioural and lifestyle factors: smoking, diet, alcohol consumption, accidents, but also more subtle behavioural factors such as how we relate to and support each other. The Australians have long been seen as leaders in public health. They led […]

April 29, 2016


The Power of Thank You

From an early age our parents remind us to say “thank you”. But what is the impact of these words? Are employees more productive if thanked for their hard work? Does thanking people for charitable donations encourage them to keep giving? Over the past year, we’ve started to see a pattern in our research – […]

April 4, 2016


How can a letter encourage us to pay our parking fines?

Like death and taxes, parking tickets are a fact of life – especially in urban areas. While no driver likes seeing that slip of paper tucked under their windshield wiper, parking tickets serve important functions – like keeping busy roadways free of impediments and making parking fair to all drivers. The problem is, many drivers […]

March 4, 2016


How can text messages encourage people to see a doctor?

If you haven’t seen a doctor in a long time, the thought of picking up the phone to schedule an appointment can be terrifying. Sometimes it’s easier to adopt an “out of sight out of mind” mentality. However, the people who haven’t seen a doctor in years are the ones most likely to benefit from […]

February 22, 2016


Automatic Enrolment and Pensions: a behavioural success story

Last week, the National Audit Office (the Government’s financial watchdog) published a report on a major government programme. If its subject had been a programme with a big overspend or a lengthy delay, it might have got a lot of attention. But this report got next to no pick up in the media. Why? Because the programme […]

November 10, 2015


Reducing missed appointments

One in ten hospital outpatient appointments is missed – people don’t turn up, and don’t cancel or rearrange in advance. That’s 5.5 million appointments every year in England alone. Missed appointments lead to people not getting the care they need, when they need it. They also lead to costs to the NHS, some of which […]

October 22, 2015