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Behavioural Public Policy

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Table of Contents

Introduction Adam Oliver; 1. Ambiguity aversion and the UK government's response to swine flu Adam Oliver; 1.1 A response to Oliver Christopher Exeter; 2. Models of governance of public services: empirical and behavioural analysis of 'Econs' and 'Humans' Gwyn Bevan and Barbara Fasolo; 2.1 A response to Bevan and Fasolo Charitini Stavropoulou; 3. From irresponsible knaves to responsible knights for just 5p: behavioural public policy and the environment Kate Disney, Julian Le Grand and Giles Atkinson; 3.1 A response to Disney, Le Grand and Atkinson Richard Cookson; 4. The more who die, the less we care: psychic numbing and genocide Paul Slovic and Daniel Vastfjall; 4.1 A response to Slovic and Vastfjall Jonathan Wolff; 5. Healthy habits: some thoughts on the role of public policy in healthful eating and exercise under limited rationality Matthew Rabin; 5.1 A response to Rabin Alex Voorhoeve; 6. Confessing one's sins but still committing them: transparency and the failure of disclosure Sunita Sah, Daylian M. Cain and George Loewenstein; 6.1 A response to Sah, Cain and Loewenstein Robert Sugden; 7. How should people be rewarded for their work? Bruno Frey; 7.1 A response to Frey Matteo M. Galizzi; 8. Influencing the financial behaviour of individuals: the mindspace way Paul Dolan; 8.1 A response to Dolan Sander van der Linden; 9. Decision analysis from a neo-Calvinist point of view Drazen Prelec; 9.1 A response to Prelec Luc Bovens; Index.

About the Author

Adam Oliver is a reader in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dr Oliver's principal research interests focus upon behavioural economics and its applications to public and private decision making, on which he has published extensively. He is founding editor of the journal Health Economics, Policy and Law.


'In this exciting new book some of the world's leading economists greatly expand the new field of the behavioural economics of public policy. From their insights we will have better governance on issues ranging from health care to disclosure practice to the environment.' George A. Akerlof, University of California, Berkeley, and Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001 'This subject is at the heart of the reform of public services in the twenty-first century. The need to provide better public services with fewer resources, combined with recent advances in behavioural sciences, is creating a quiet revolution in the way public policy is analysed and services are delivered. This book is essential reading for all interested in improving public policy and services.' Lord Gus O'Donnell, Former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service 'The field of behavioral economics has evolved rapidly over the past thirty years, and this exciting volume shows how these developments can be applied to important policy questions. This book is a valuable source of insight for practitioners, students, and researchers.' Ernst Fehr, University of Zurich 'The rapid growth of applications to policy is surely the most important development in behavioural economics in recent years. This volume reports some of these advances, but it also includes a welcome discussion of the moral underpinnings of behavioural interventions in policy.' Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, and Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2002 'This volume eloquently reveals the extraordinary power of behavioral economics as a tool for predicting and influencing human behavior, and simultaneously raises profound questions about the ethical foundations of the brave new world of paternalistic policies that is rapidly emerging.' David Laibson, Harvard University 'The idea of using behavioral economics to design public policy has captured the popular imagination. This book provides scientific meat behind this idea. It brings together a wonderful collection of thoughtful scholarly articles by some of the biggest names in the area.' Sendhil Mullainathan, Harvard University 'An exceptionally important set of contributions to current discussions of behavioral economics and public policy. Written by some of the best researchers in the world, the various chapters break new ground. They should be read carefully by policymakers and academics alike.' Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University, and Former Administrator, White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

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