Handbook of Behavioural Change and Public Policy
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Handbook of Behavioural Change and Public Policy

Edited by Holger Straßheim and Silke Beck

Behavioural change has become a core issue of public policy. Behavioural instruments such as ‘nudging’ apply insights from behavioural economics and behavioural sciences, psychology and neurosciences across a broad range of policy areas. Behavioural insights teams and networks facilitate the global spread of behavioural public policies. Despite an ever-growing amount of literature, research has remained fragmented. This comprehensive Handbook unites interdisciplinary scholarship, with contributions critically assessing the state and direction of behavioural public policies, their normative implications and political consequences.
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Chapter 8: The application of behavioural insights to policy in Europe

Emanuele Ciriolo, Joana Sousa Lourenço and Sara Rafael Almeida


Behavioural sciences help to systematically analyse the processes underlying human behaviour, through observation and experimentation. In the past years, they have brought powerful insights to policy-making. The present chapter builds, to a large extent, on the Behavioural Insights Applied to Policy: European Report 2016. The report provided a state-of-the-art view of the contribution of behavioural insights to policy-making, while also identifying a wealth of policy applications implicitly or explicitly informed by behavioural insights across 32 European countries. The report also puts forward a taxonomy of behavioural policy interventions, which was applied to differentiate and make sense of the selected initiatives. The present chapter covers the most recent institutional developments in Europe, and applies the taxonomy of behavioural interventions to some of the latest applications of behavioural insights in policy. Notwithstanding positive developments, there is still the need for further systematic application and evaluation of behavioural insights for policy-making.

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