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Starting a behavioural insights team: Three lessons from the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government

Author

Listed:
  • Sarah Ball

    () (Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland)

  • Michael Hiscox

    (Harvard University and (former) Research Director, Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government)

  • Tara Oliver

    (Managing Director, Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government)

Abstract

Applying behavioural economics, science and psychology, a combination sometimes referred to as 'behavioural insights', has become a major force in government in Australia and internationally. Part of applying behavioural insights within government often includes establishing an internal behavioural insights team. This paper outlines some of the experiences of one such team, the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA). In the short time since their establishment in 2016, BETA has learned some important lessons which largely align with the importance of finding balance. Balance between garnering support from the top while also building enthusiasm for the work from the ground up; running small-scale trials to build trust while continuing to develop a long-term and sustainable program; and finally being policy-relevant while ensuring academic rigour. In sharing these lessons the authors hope that teams across the public and private sector will find some of these lessons helpful and useful for their own behavioural economics projects more broadly.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Ball & Michael Hiscox & Tara Oliver, 2017. "Starting a behavioural insights team: Three lessons from the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 1(S), pages 21-26, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:beh:jbepv1:v:1:y:2017:i:s:p:21-26
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