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Saturday, August 24, 2013

'Public Policies, Made to Fit People'

You may need a nudge to read this one:

Public Policies, Made to Fit People, by Richard Thaler, Commentary, NY Times: I have written here before about the potential gains to government from involving social and behavioral scientists in designing public policies. My enthusiasm comes in part from my experiences as an academic adviser to the Behavioral Insights Team created in Britain by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Thus I was pleased to hear reports that the White House is building a similar initiative here in the United States. Maya Shankar, a cognitive scientist and senior policy adviser at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is coordinating this cross-agency group, called the Social and Behavioral Science Team; it is part of a larger effort to use evidence and innovation to promote government performance and efficiency. I am among a number of academics who have shared ideas with the administration about how research findings in social and behavioral science can improve policy.
It makes sense for social scientists to become more involved in policy, because many of society’s most challenging problems are, in essence, behavioral. Using social scientists’ findings to create plausible interventions, then testing their efficacy with randomized controlled trials, can improve — and sometimes save — people’s lives, all while reducing the need for more government spending to fix problems later.
Here are three examples of social science issues that have attracted the team’s attention ...
All of these examples show that the role of behavioral science in policy isn’t for the government to tell people how to think or act. It is to help them achieve their own goals. ...

    Posted by on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 12:49 PM in Economics, Policy | Permalink  Comments (30)


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