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Behavioural Insights Team publishes EAST – a new Framework for applying behavioural insights

10th Apr 2014

The Behavioural Insights Team has published a new framework for applying behavioural insights to policy. It’s called EAST: four simple ways to apply behavioural insights.

EAST is an acronym which stands for ‘Easy’, ‘Attractive’, ‘Social’ and ‘Timely’. EAST draws on decades of academic literature and the experiences of the team in applying insights from the behavioural sciences to public policy.

It is intended to enable policymakers to get to grips quickly with some of the central ideas from the behavioural sciences in a way that is intuitive and simple to apply in practice.

The paper is full of examples of how the team, the UK Government, and organisations around the world are already using these insights to make more efficient and effective policy.

For example, automatically enrolling people on to pension schemes (‘Easy’) dramatically increases uptake; giving investment bankers small gifts and personalised messages (‘Attractive’) dramatically increases the amount that they give to charity.

Telling late payers how many other people are already paying their tax (‘Social’) increases payment rates without requiring more draconian measures. And prompting people to pay their court fines immediately before a bailiff is sent round triples payment rates (‘Timely’).

We hope you enjoy the paper. And find it a useful way of applying behavioural insights in practice. The paper can be found here

Minister for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin, said:

“The behavioural science literature can be complex, so having a simple framework which policymakers can easily access and apply is invaluable.

As the Minister responsible for Government Policy, I’ve seen how some of these insights can be applied in practice to help generate policy that’s smarter, simpler and is highly cost-effective.”

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

“The publication of this framework, only two months after we announced the spin out of the Behavioural Insights Team into a mutual joint-venture, is a clear sign that this new business model will deliver results both for policymakers and for citizens.

Giving the team the freedom to meet demand from across the public and private sectors, not just in the UK but overseas, is enabling more people to benefit from their work – and our retained stake means that their success is also a win for hardworking taxpayers.”