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Handbook of Behavioural Change and Public Policy (2019)

(Publisher : Edward Elgard Publishing)

Author(s) : Holger Straßheim and Silke Beck

‘Recent behavioral contributions to policy are innovative and in vogue, yet old and familiar; potentially highly effective yet quite mundane; somewhat paternalistic, somewhat libertarian, nonintrusive yet manipulative, and they can affect all aspects of our lives. This impressive compendium advances behaviorally informed policy thinking in important ways.’

– Eldar Shafir, Princeton University, US

‘This Handbook makes an important contribution to the study of behavioural public policy. It includes a wide range of perspectives that can truly be seen as interdisciplinary, the scholar and student will find many riches here.’

– Peter John, King's College London, UK


Behavioural change has become a core issue of public policy. Behavioural instruments such as ‘nudging’ apply insights from behavioural economics and behavioural sciences, psychology and neurosciences across a broad range of policy areas. Behavioural insights teams and networks facilitate the global spread of behavioural public policies. Despite an ever-growing amount of literature, research has remained fragmented. This comprehensive Handbook unites interdisciplinary scholarship, with contributions critically assessing the state and direction of behavioural public policies, their normative implications and political consequences.

Table of contents

Behavioural change has become a core issue of public policy in recent years. This comprehensive Handbook takes a multidisciplinary approach to examine the relationship between the two, exploring the ever-increasing analysis of behavioural change and the importance of ‘nudge’ in terms of public policy. 

Uniting interdisciplinary scholarship, Holger Straßheim and Silke Beck have drawn together a wide variety of perspectives, allowing for the legal, political, economic and social aspects of behavioural change and public policy to be explored. Contributions by renowned experts critically assess the theories and conceptual developments from early experiments to recent strategies of behavioural public policy. Chapters also cover the proliferation and professionalization of these strategies in Europe and beyond, the application of behavioural insights and instruments across areas including health, sustainability, employment, pensions, development and taxation, and the normative ideas and political consequences of knowing and governing behaviour.

Political science and public policy scholars will find the inclusion of both critical and theory-driven research a vital tool, while policy-makers will appreciate the practical suggestions included in this Handbook.





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