An alternative behavioural public policy

Authored by: Adam Oliver

Routledge Handbook of Bounded Rationality

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138999381
eBook ISBN: 9781315658353
Adobe ISBN:


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The application of behavioural insights to public policy, defined here as behavioural public policy, is in any substantive sense, a relatively recent endeavour, although decades of social science research underpin the approach (see, for example, Oliver, 2017). Several conceptual frameworks have been developed within the field of behavioural public policy, but the dominant frameworks have thus far been forms of paternalism, with paternalistic approaches defined here as those that focus upon improving the position of those targeted by behaviour change initiatives, often (although not always) as judged deliberatively by those persons themselves. In other words, these approaches aim to improve internalities, rather than reduce negative externalities – i.e., harms – to third parties.

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