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  • Blog
  • 29th Nov 2012

Latest behavioural ideas and results from BIT discussions with Harvard academics

Cambridge, Massachusetts, can claim to have one of the most outstanding collections of researchers working on behavioural economics in the world. It's intent on getting even better, not least by marshalling resources across Harvard Business School (HBS), Kennedy School of Government (KSG), and drawing on MIT and Boston University too.…

  • Blog
  • 3rd Dec 2012

Welcome to the BIT Blog!

It’s been just over 2 years since the UK’s Behavioural Insight Team (BIT), or ‘nudge unit’ was set up. Inspired by the growing field of behavioural economics, including the work of Danny Kahneman, Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler (who has worked with the team from its inception), the team was…

  • Blog
  • 3rd Dec 2012

Ideas and results from Harvard, part IV

In this post, we share our discussions from Harvard listed under the fourth part of our simple mnemonic, EAST (Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely).T is for TIMELYShop next week for healthier choices. A continued theme in Max Bazerman’s work is around people’s tendency to make more ‘rational’ decisions for the future…

  • Blog
  • 4th Dec 2012

Christmas shopping tips from a behavioural economist

Tips from Cass Sunstein, click here to read the article.

  • Blog
  • 5th Dec 2012

Measuring national wellbeing

At the end of November, the Office of National Statistic (ONS) released its latest update in its Measuring National Wellbeing programme. This is an ambitious project that seeks to develop a broader and more balanced measure of progress than GDP alone. The data shows that, despite more than doubling our…

  • Blog
  • 6th Dec 2012

Behavioural Bulletin, 3rd edition

The Behavioural Bulletin summarises a few examples of recent behavioural science research that we've come across. Below are the first three editions. Feel free to comment on the effects or methodologies of the papers cited, or recommend others to us! Behavioural Bulletin, 1st edition Behavioural Bulletin, 2nd edition Behavioural Bulletin,…

  • Blog
  • 12th Dec 2012

Reducing disposable shopping bag usage

In her new paper, Tatiana Homonoff from Princeton University shows that small incentives can have a larger effect than the simple cost/benefit calculation would suggest, but how these incentives are framed matters. Her findings accord with the idea of loss aversion – that people value losses more than the equivalent…

  • Blog
  • 14th Dec 2012

New BIT trial results: helping people back into work

The Behavioural Insights Team has been working with Job Centre Plus in Loughton, Essex, to help get people back into work. We ran a six month randomised controlled trial to test the impact of three changes we made to the existing Job Centre Plus system. The trial tested the difference…

  • Blog
  • 18th Dec 2012

Peer effects and positive affect in charitable giving

In a Christmas lecture, Warwick University Economics Professor, Kimberley Scharf, has called on the public to give more money to charity - and not just for the sake of the charities. In line with current research in behavioural economics and psychology, Professor Scharf argues that "not only will you help…

  • Blog
  • 19th Dec 2012

Designing interventions in partnership with the people who are going to deliver them

One of Professor Thaler's mantras is "we can't do evidence based policy without evidence". As a team, we are keen advocates of the use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in government. But when talking about our trials we are often confronted with the question: "How do you decide what to…