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P.W. (Peter-Wim) Zuidhof

This chapter evaluates the rise of behavioural economics as a policy paradigm within EU policy-making. The chapter first charts how behavioural insights have filtered into EU policy: what insights were imported and in which policy areas they emerged. It then maps the type of actors and organizations that have been instrumental in disseminating behavioural economics. How did these actors translate theoretical insights into EU policy? The aim of the chapter is to determine how the adoption of behavioural insights is changing the political orientation of the EU. Do these represent a retreat from once-popular neoliberal, market-making policies towards liberal market-regulating principles, or do they indicate a move in a different direction? The chapter concludes by arguing that while behavioural approaches to EU policy remain modest to date, they present a considerable shift in the policy outlook of the EU in unprecedented directions, with potentially significant political implications.