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BX is coming back to London for 2019

Football’s not coming home (yet), but we’re delighted to confirm that the annual Behavioural Exchange (BX) conference will be held in London next year. Technically BX isn’t coming home either. The inaugural 2014 conference was held in Sydney, where it returned last month for BX2018. But it was London where BIT was established in 2010 […]

July 19, 2018


What do evidence and olives have in common?

People can learn in a number of ways – through direct instruction, such as early lessons from parents; through watching what other people do and learning from their actions; or through our own experiences and trial and error. Psychologists have long studied the way in which we learn from our experience as well as from […]

July 5, 2018


Symbolic rewards, real benefits

Many foundational studies in behavioural economics showed that the relationship that people have with financial incentives or penalties isn’t quite what is predicted by the standard economic model. People value losses more than they value equivalently sized gains, disproportionately prefer today over tomorrow, and love large gambles while avoiding smaller ones. We’ve seen that when […]

July 4, 2018


Apposite apologies

Sorry, as Elton John memorably (and Blue not so memorably) sang, seems to be the hardest word. People and organisations very often miss out on chances to make amends by refusing to apologise, or worse still, offering a “non-apology”- saying that they’re sorry if people were offended, for example, instead of apologising for saying something […]

July 2, 2018


Keeping your eye on the ball: a defense of self-control

We’re all excited to watch England kick off their World Cup campaign this evening against Tunisia. Like workplaces around the country, we will be getting together with a few drinks to celebrate England’s resurgence (…or perhaps distract us from something more underwhelming). Either way, we should all spare a thought for those sitting their A-levels […]

June 18, 2018


Call for papers about Social Norms

Of all the interventions that have come to the fore since the behavioural revolution in government, perhaps the most prominent has been the use of social norms to encourage behaviours. Whether it’s encouraging people to pay their taxes on time, getting doctors to reduce their antibiotic prescriptions or boosting classroom attendance, these norms are now […]

June 8, 2018


A changing lens: fixed-odds betting machines, civil society and UKRI

We often say that behavioural science can be used for good or bad, just like any form of knowledge. One of the troubling applications – though brilliant in its own way – can be to nudge people to gamble too much. This week saw the decision to dramatically curtain the sums that can be gambled […]

May 18, 2018


National Numeracy Day: take the test

Suppose you put £100 into a savings account with a guaranteed interest rate of 2% per year. You don’t make any further payments into this account and you don’t withdraw any money. How much would be in the account at the end of the first year, once the interest payment is made? Check your answer […]

May 16, 2018


In the frame: how policy choices are shaped by the way ideas are presented

This is the second blog in our Behavioural Government series, which explores how behavioural insights can be used to improve how government itself works. ‘Framing effects’ are when people’s views about something change depending on how it is described. Adopting different frames can greatly affect how people perceive a problem and what they consider to […]

May 11, 2018


Inflated expectations? Our research on how to ask people about inflation

New results published in the Singapore Macroeconomic Review Central banks around the world want to know how people expect prices to change. Why does it matter? Suppose I want a new television. If I expect the price of that TV will be higher next year, I might choose to buy it immediately. I might even […]

May 3, 2018