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 10: Nudge and the European Union

Alberto Alemanno

Abstract

Europe has largely been absent from the US-dominated debate surrounding the introduction of nudge-type interventions in policy-making. Yet the European Union (EU) and some of its member states are exploring the possibility of informing their policy action with behavioural insights. Given the potential of this innovative regulatory approach to attain effective, low-cost and choice-preserving policies, such a stance seems surprising, especially when measured against growing citizen mistrust towards EU policy action. This chapter charts and systematizes the incipient European nudge discourse. After giving an overview on the growing appeal of nudging among policy-makers within and across Europe the notion of behavioural policy-making is introduced. Institutional and methodological efforts undertaken by the EU and some of its member states to embrace behavioural policy-making are described. Finally, the chapter discusses the major difficulties of integrating behavioural insights into EU policy-making and offers some concluding remarks.

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