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Rich and poor: what’s in a number? New measure for poverty from the Social Metrics Commission

Today sees the publication of new proposals from the Social Metrics Commission. Its report sets out a new measurement framework for poverty in the UK. It’s surprisingly tricky to get a group of experts – or the general public – to agree who is rich and poor, let alone what to do about it. If […]

September 18, 2018

Building Smart Peace – BIT joins conflict resolution consortium

The number of people displaced by violence and conflict reached 68.5 million by the end of 2017. BIT is already working to apply behavioural insights to challenges in refugee camps, such as promoting early childhood development and reducing corporal punishment in schools. We are excited to announce that BIT will now work to support peace […]

September 11, 2018

Central banking: when communication is the policy

“Sometimes, the explanation is the policy” — Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve 2014-2018 The psychological and behavioural economics literatures have had a transformative impact on how we understand people’s financial and personal decision-making. Studies have shown that more information isn’t always better, that defaulting people into saving can help them save more, and […]

August 15, 2018

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