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Crawford School of Public Policy

Behavioural Economics of Policy Design: the why and How of Nudge

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About the course

What if you could help people make good life decisions through a little 'nudge'? As policymakers, encouraging people to make the right choices about their health, wealth and overall well-being can be challenging. In this course, you will learn about the cognitive biases we all bring to decisions and how you can use 'nudge' theory in policy design to make better choices. The course will examine the behavioural economics approach to policy evaluation, the methods that work best, the differences between randomised controlled trials and natural experiments, and how to use existing data to evaluate policy. Participants will gather tools to understand how nudge theory and behavioural economics can be used and applied in policy-making and evaluation.

Course overview

  • Cognitive biases and behavioural economics: What has changed for public policy design. In this session you will experience some cognitive biases in your own decisions and part take in experiments, introducing you not only to the prevalence of biases in day to day life but also to understand the value of evidence based on experiments.
  • Your challenge: Is behavioural economics the right tool? How to design and evaluate an intervention. In this section we will dive deeper into the UK BIT teams approach into applying behavioural economics. We will cover the EAST approach and apply it your challenges.
  • Methods of behavioural economics: the experimental approach. Applying behavioural economics as an evaluation methods is not only helpful to evaluate newly designed policies but can also provide insights into understanding the role behavioural biases play by analysing existing data or using computer based experiments. We will cover these different approaches, discuss strength and weaknesses and consider applicability to your challenges.
  • Implications for public policy: the rise of experimental government and the risks and limitations of behavioural economics. This session will try to look into the future and discuss political and ethical risks. The discussion relies on experiences from the US and the UK as well as Australia.

Trust the experts

Uwe Dulleck

Uwe Dulleck is a Professor in Applied Economics at QUT Business School, Economics and Finance and an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. Prior to joining QUT, Uwe was a Professor of Economics at the University of Linz, Austria and an Assistant Professor at the University of ...


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