Behaviour change: 2nd report of session 2010-12
The Stationery Office, Jul 19, 2011 - Science - 111 pages
The currently influential book 'Nudge' by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocates a range of non-regulatory interventions that seek to influence behaviour by altering the context or environment in which people choose, and seek to influence behaviour in ways which people often do not notice. This approach differs from more traditional government attempts to change behaviour, which have either used regulatory interventions or relied on overt persuasion. The current Government have taken a considerable interest in the use of 'nudge interventions'. One aim of this inquiry, therefore, is to assess the evidence-base for the effectiveness of this approach. However it also examines evidence for the effectiveness of other types of policy intervention and asks whether the Government make good use of the full range of available evidence. The Committee's central finding is that non-regulatory measures used in isolation, including 'nudges', are less likely to be effective. Effective policies often use a range of interventions. A lot more could, and should, be done to improve the evaluation of interventions. Specific recommendations include: the Government must invest in gathering more evidence about what measures work to influence population behaviour change; they should appoint an independent Chief Social Scientist to provide them with robust and independent scientific advice; the Government should take steps to implement a traffic light system of nutritional labelling on all food packaging.
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Interventions and ethical acceptability 2 10
Translation of research 4 17
The Government approach to changing behaviour
Voluntary agreements between Govermnent and businesses 5 19
reducing car use 7 26
Conclusions and recommendations
Members and declarations of interest
Calls for evidence
Seminar on behaviour change and travel behaviour
Ethics and behaviour change seminar held at
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