Behavioural Insights, Policy Policy, and the OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have just launched a fascinating new initiative: “Behavioural Insights and Public Policy: Lessons from Round the World.” The accompanying book has extensive case studies of how behavioural insights have been deployed to advance public policy. As the OECD says “The use of behavioural economics by governments and regulators is a growing trend globally, most notably in the United Kingdom and United States but more recently in Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the European Union.” (OECD website).

It is interesting that the OECD see this as such an important way to advance economic and social welfare. From a fringe endeavour behavioural economics is now quite central to many governmental approaches. (As I have said previously I see this as excellent news.) I also think it is interesting that they describe the approach as both behavioural insights and behavioural economics. Where (behavioural) economics ends and good old fashioned common sense – designing policy and presentation that work with human nature – begins is a valid question. In many ways this work on behavioural insights/economics is just repackaging ideas in a more palatable form. I’m all for this; indeed it is good old fashioned common sense to make positive change as palatable as possible. Making change easy/simple/appealing is a key element to making change happen.

I will write more about the OECD book after digesting it. For now I’ll simply suggest looking at what is being done. There are accompanying videos tailored to different world regions that explain the ideas behind and benefits of using behavioural insights in public policy. (Most applies in the commercial and not-for-profit worlds too.)  I’m excited by what the OECD are up to, and look forward to hearing more.

Read: (2017) Behavioural Insights and Public Policy: Lessons from Round the World. OECD Library. See more at: http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/behavioural-insights.htm