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Behavioural Public Policy Seminars

The programme for 2022-23 LSE Hayek Programme - Department of Social Policy Joint BPP seminar series is below. Speakers present 'issues', rather than research papers. Speakers introduce topics for 15 minutes, followed by 40 minutes discussion. All seminars are from 4-5pm (London time), and take place virtually (across Zoom). They are principally meant for members of the International Behavioural Public Policy Association (IBPPA) and for members of the LSE HP-DSP BPP Group. Please contact Adam Oliver if you would like to join the group/attend seminars.

To join the IBPPA, please visit the IBPPA website.


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 1 by Paul Frijters: TBC

Date: 13 October 2022


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 2 by Rory Sutherland: TBC

Date: 17 November 2022


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 3 by Cass Sunstein: TBC

Date: 15 December 2022


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 4 by Gerd Gigerenzer: From Bounded Rationality to Ecological Rationality

Date: 19 January 2023

View the seminar recording on YouTube


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 5 by Avishalom Tor: When Should Government Invest More in Nudging? Revisiting Benartzi et al (2017)

Date: 9 February 2023

View the seminar recording on YouTube


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 6 by Daniel Read: Tainted Nudge? The challenge of combining doing well with doing good

Date: 16 February 2023

The seminar will be based around the general challenge of how people evaluate activities that do good for society, but also earn a profit for the actor. There is some research suggesting that altruistic acts can be heavily "tainted" by the presence of additional selfish or profit motives. In the work discussed -- itself part of a larger project -- we look at whether this tainting applies to organisational nudges. We also consider when and why such tainting might occur.

Read the paper here


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 7 by Pete Lunn: But Does it Work in Theory? A Practitioners' Perspective on Current Debates in Behavioural Public Policy

Date: 16 March 2023

We offer a perspective on two ongoing debates in behavioural public policy: the merits of nudging (versus other approaches) and whether behavioural science should be applied to policy at the level of the individual or the system (i-frame versus s-frame). Our perspective comes from ten years of running Ireland's Behavioural Research Unit, where we have undertaken more than 80 studies for state agencies and government departments, across many different policy problems. On the first issue, we argue that a blanket preference for one type of intervention over another is unhelpful when applying behavioural science to policy. Our work instead aims to identify explicit and transparent criteria for improving people's decisions, generally via diagnostic research specific to the policy context. This diagnostic work may provide evidence to support soft interventions that can be pre-tested (including nudges, boosts and traditional information provision), or orthodox economic policies of regulation or taxation. A prior preference for policy type does not help to solve the policy problem. On the second issue, our experience leaves us sympathetic to the view that some major policy problems require behavioural scientists to operate at the system-level. In areas like climate change and obesity, we increasingly work on public engagement and understanding rather than designing individual-level interventions likely to have only marginal effects. Nevertheless, sometimes i-frame studies help individuals to do better within a system.

View the seminar recording on YouTube


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 8 by Lis Costa: TBC

Date: 20 April 2023


Behavioural Public Policy Seminarr 9 by Lucia Reisch: TBC

Date: 18 May 2023


Behavioural Public Policy Seminar 10 by Malte Dold: TBC

Date: 22 June 2023