Nudging for good
Applying behavioural insights to improve policy outcomes

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Folk’s research and design work is increasingly informed by behavioural economics. In health, education, social services and justice we’re being asked to solve problems where the aim is to help people make better decisions – in keeping with their own best interests.

To help build shared understanding and capability in this area we’re supporting an executive education forum with Harvard Professor Michael J. Hiscox - Applying Behavioural Insights to Public Policy Forum 19th  & 20th November in Canberra.

The forum will provide a detailed introduction to behavioural economics along with a practical guide to applying behavioural insights to improve government programs, policies and administration. 

The field of behavioural economics focuses on the many ways in which people are typically not like rational, calculating machines pursuing their maximum material self-interest. We all have limited attention spans and find it cognitively taxing dealing with complicated choices with uncertain consequences, and our decisions thus tend to reflect a variety of biases and our reliance on simple heuristics or rules of thumb. 

These are not occasional aberrations or minor deviations from rationality, these are systematic and predictable patterns in human behaviour. 

Many governments around the world have recently created behavioural insights teams to rethink traditional approaches to design and develop new solutions to policy problems in a range of key areas, including health care, social welfare, employment, education, taxation, crime and energy use. 

In this forum, we will examine the key insights revealed by behavioural economics and how these insights are being applied and tested by governments to address critical policy problems. 

Professor Hiscox is an acclaimed leader in the field of applied behavioural insights, serving as founding Director of BETA in Australia and advising behavioural insights teams in several other countries. At Harvard, he teaches the popular course, Behavioural Insights and Public Policy, examining applications of behavioural economics to policy design, along with Field Experiments for Policy and Program Evaluation. This executive forum draws from both those Harvard courses. 

For more information on the event and Professor Michael J. Hiscox: