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 13: The enzymatic effect of behavioural sciences: what about policy-makers’ expectations?

Kathrin Loer


As traditional instruments reach their limits, it is no wonder that the question arises of whether behaviourally-inspired strategies might be (at least theoretically) an elegant tool for public actors to make people do what governments want. Keeping this in mind, this chapter will question how behaviourally-inspired policies can be understood generally as a tool of government that is used to make people do what governments want. It will argue that the available government tool typologies do not cover the ways in which behavioural insights change traditional instruments in specific ways. This ‘enzymatic effect’ of behaviourally-inspired policies will be explained as a specific concept. It will be adapted in order to devise a new model of governmental instruments.

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