Applying Behavioral Insights to Support Immigrant Integration and Social Cohesion

Nudges vs. Shoves by Cass R. Sunstein

For those interested in public policy and nudges, good discussion by Cass Sunstein on the benefits of nudges, which preserve choice, to mandatory measures. Another instrument in the public policy toolkit.

Dry abstract below:

Behavioral findings, demonstrating human errors, have led some people to favor choice-preserving responses (“nudges”), and others to favor mandates and bans. If people’s choices lead them to err, it might seem puzzling, or even odd, to respond with solutions that insist on preserving freedom of choice. But mandates have serious problems of their own, even in the face of behavioral market failures. Mandates might not be able to handle heterogeneity; they might reflect limited knowledge on the part of public officials or the interests of powerful private groups; and they override freedom, potentially producing welfare losses and insulting individual dignity. It is true that in some cases, a behavioral market failure (such as a self-control problem) might justify a mandate on social welfare grounds, but on those very grounds, it makes sense to begin by examining choice-preserving approaches, which are far less intrusive and often highly effective.

Nudges vs. Shoves by Cass R. Sunstein :: SSRN.

Britain’s Ministry of Nudges – NYTimes.com

A good in-depth profile of how the Cameron government is applying “nudge” to improve policy outcomes. Further ahead than the US initiative (easier to make things happen in UK). Not aware of any substantive work in Canada at the federal level, at least, to explore “nudges” as a policy tool.

It starts with recognition that existing government policy approaches have incorporated in their defaults some aspects of “nudges”; more awareness of these implicit biases makes for a good starting point, as well as the more in-depth and methodological approaches highlighted in the article.

Britain’s Ministry of Nudges – NYTimes.com.

Professional and Non Partisan Thoughts on Renewing the Public Service: How Nudges Work for Government (and Might Work Against Blueprint 2020)

Good piece on nudges, and how some of the existing biases and approaches work against innovation in the public service.

Professional and Non Partisan Thoughts on Renewing the Public Service: How Nudges Work for Government (and Might Work Against Blueprint 2020).