Inside the Nudge Unit: how small changes can make a big difference


Published on Sep 25, 2015
Speaker(s): Dr David Halpern
Chair: Dr Barbara Fasolo

Recorded on 15 September 2015

It all started as a cautious experiment. In 2010, David Cameron set up the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT or ‘Nudge Unit’) at 10 Downing Street. Plans were greeted with wry amusement from the media and deep scepticism from the corridors of Whitehall. Not many believed it would last, yet within 18 months, the team was producing results which changed the minds of critics inside and outside the government. Headed up by behavioural scientist Dr David Halpern, the aim was to be the world’s first government institution to use behavioural economics to examine and influence human behaviour; to essentially ‘nudge’ us into making better decisions for ourselves by applying psychology to policy. In this lecture David will talk about his new book, Inside the Nudge Unit – How Small Changes can make a Big Difference.

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David Halpern is CEO of The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), which was set up by 10 Downing Street in 2010. He is also the UK’s national adviser on What Works. Prior to this, Halpern was the Founding Director of the Institute for Government, Chief Analyst in Tony Blair’s Strategy Unit, and Director of Blair’s social exclusion task force. Halpern has held posts at Cambridge, Harvard and Nuffield College, Oxford.

Dr Barbara Fasolo is Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at LSE. She currently serves as Head of the Behavioural Research Lab, Director of the Executive Master in Behavioural Science, and on the Department of Health Behavioural Insights Expert Advisory Panel.

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