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Behavioural science: ethics, expertise and systemic risk

In: Research Handbook on Nudges and Society


  • Liam Delaney
  • Atrina Oraee
  • Jet Sanders


Behavioural science has increasingly integrated into public policy over the last decade. A particularly important recent development has been the inclusion of behavioural science researchers into expert advisory committees tasked with dealing with major systemic issues or crises at national and international levels. The case of COVID-19 illustrates the importance of prioritising questions of professional ethics and public perception of expertise. In this chapter, we discuss the nature of behavioural science expertise and factors that impact upon trust and public perception. A key point that the chapter develops is that employing explicit professional ethical codes for the role of behavioural scientists may contribute to the development of more resilient crisis responses. More generally, creating more opportunities for reflection on the development of the discipline, communication across disciplines, and training of behavioural scientists involved in policy, is important for developing behavioural science as an input to systemic risk management.

Suggested Citation

  • Liam Delaney & Atrina Oraee & Jet Sanders, 2023. "Behavioural science: ethics, expertise and systemic risk," Chapters, in: Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (ed.), Research Handbook on Nudges and Society, chapter 16, pages 292-307, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:elg:eechap:22035_16

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