T03P06 - Policy, Values and Human Behaviour

Topic : Policy and Politics sponsored by Policy & Politics Journal

Panel Chair : Linda Botterill - linda.botterill@canberra.edu.au

Panel Second Chair : Geoff Cockfield - Geoff.Cockfield@usq.edu.au

Panel Third Chair : Alan Fenna - a.fenna@curtin.edu.au

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

In this panel a selection of papers may be considered for the Policy & Politics journal.

 

This panel will develop the debates generated by the resurgence of interest in human behaviour and values in the social sciences.  The panel chairs are interested in empirical research and theoretical developments which explore these issues in the context of the policy process.  The panel is intended to attract participants working in and around the disciplines of public policy, behavioural economics, political psychology and political science.  The language of ‘nudge’ and ‘behavioural policy instruments’ implies that the role of human values, emotions and ‘non-rational’ behaviour is a recent discovery in the study of public policy, but disciplines such as psychology and related areas of political psychology have been considering these aspects of politics and collective-decision making for decades.  For example, both Harold Lasswell and Herbert Simon were influenced in their early thinking by the (then) emerging field of psychoanalysis, which the former applied to his studies of political leadership.

 

The recent surge of interest in human behaviour, evidenced by the rise in behavioural economics, nudge thinking and the behavioural sciences more generally, may signal a move away from rational actor models of politics and policy making.  This panel invites papers that explore the role of human values in politics and policy from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including political science, political psychology and the other behavioural sciences.  The panel seeks to generate debate around whether these approaches can enhance our understanding of the policy process and potentially lead to improved policy processes that recognise and take account of diverse values perspectives.  Papers that are both supportive and critical of this behavioural turn in the social sciences are welcome, including consideration of whether there is actually anything new in these avenues of research, and whether techniques such as nudge have negative as well as positive implications for policy making, particularly in democratic systems.  We also welcome discussion of the inherent contradictions between this focus on human values and behaviour and the other major development of recent decades, the emphasis on evidence-based policy making.

 

The Panel Chairs are interested in both empirical and theoretical advances and innovations with respect to research around values, behaviour and the policy process.  Possible topics for the panel include:

·        Methodological advances in political psychology of relevance to policy studies

·        Empirical studies of the success and failure of ‘nudge’ in diverse national settings

·        The limitations of the behavioural approach

·        The lessons and approaches that policy-makers might learn from psychology

·        The advantages and disadvantages of values analytic approaches to policy problems

·        The role of values in existing analytical frameworks in the policy sciences

·        Future directions in research

Call for papers

The increasing interest in, and in some cases applications of, behavioural economics, nudge and the behavioural sciences more generally, signal an apparent move away from rational actor models of politics and policy making.  Although some of this literature suggests that the discovery of the human element of behaviour is recent, there is a long tradition in many areas of the social sciences which recognises the non-rational characteristics of both individual and collective decision-making.

 

This panel invites papers that explore the role of human values in politics and policy from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including political science, political psychology and other behavioural sciences.  The panel seeks to generate debate around whether these approaches can enhance our understanding of the policy process and potentially lead to different policy outcomes that recognise and take account of diverse values perspectives.  Papers that are both supportive and critical of this behavioural turn in the social sciences are welcome, including consideration of whether or not there is anything new in these avenues of research, and whether techniques such as nudge have negative as well as positive implications for policy making, particularly in democratic systems.  We also welcome discussion of the inherent contradictions between this focus on human values and behaviour and the other major development of recent decades – the emphasis on evidence-based policy making.

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