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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


7 steps to meet your goals: Think Small out in paperback today

Do you always seem to have a couple more drinks than you intended when you go down the pub? Or find yourself routinely coming home from work and unwinding with a G&T? If so, you’re certainly not alone, but the evidence on the impact of regular drinking on our health and life expectancy is becoming […]

May 3, 2018


Behavioural Government: A major new initiative from BIT

Confident about your own decision-making? Take the test. When we present our work or appear on panels, we’re often asked the same question: “But doesn’t government itself suffer from cognitive biases?” It’s an issue close to our hearts, given our origins in government. We first highlighted it in the MINDSPACE report in 2010 (see p55) […]

May 2, 2018


BBC One Documentary “The Truth About Obesity”, 8pm tonight: tune in

One windy day last September, I found myself standing in a barn near Milton Keynes, watching people eat pork pies. The reason? The BBC had asked us to run an experiment based on our research that people greatly under-report what they eat, and that the problem is getting worse over time. We already know it’s […]

April 26, 2018


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