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Government behavioural economics 'nudge unit' needs a shove in a new direction

Frain, Andrew James; Tame, Randal

Description

The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) or “nudge unit”, founded in 2015, is using behavioural economics in an effort to improve policy outcomes. The problem? Evidence shows it may be the wrong way to address major problems like inequality. Put simply, behavioural economics is severely limited in its approach to inequality. Fortunately, other psychological approaches are better suited. Behavioural economics is built on a particular tradition in psychology,...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorFrain, Andrew James
dc.contributor.authorTame, Randal
dc.date.accessioned2017-07-27T07:19:19Z
dc.date.available2017-07-27T07:19:19Z
dc.date.submitted24/07/2017 0:00
dc.identifier.othertheconversation/article/80390
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/120968
dc.description.abstractThe Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) or “nudge unit”, founded in 2015, is using behavioural economics in an effort to improve policy outcomes. The problem? Evidence shows it may be the wrong way to address major problems like inequality. Put simply, behavioural economics is severely limited in its approach to inequality. Fortunately, other psychological approaches are better suited. Behavioural economics is built on a particular tradition in psychology, sometimes called the American tradition. At its heart is a distinction between rational and irrational psychological processes. These are often described in terms of two separate cognitive systems. One is a “slow” deliberate system where logic and reasoning prevails, and another is a “fast” automatic system where stereotypes and unconscious biases hold sway. Behavioural economics assumes that perceptions of groups (e.g. races, genders and nationalities) are driven by irrationality and that we should stop grouping people by stereotypes or labels. Rather, we should view them as individuals. However, this rules out important inequality-busting techniques like collective protest, quotas, and affirmative action (favouring those who are marginalised in society). All of these rely on perceiving people as members of a group rather than individuals.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherParkville, Vic. : The Conversation Media Group
dc.rights.urihttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/
dc.sourceThe Conversation
dc.source.urihttp://theconversation.com/government-behavioural-economics-nudge-unit-needs-a-shove-in-a-new-direction-80390
dc.titleGovernment behavioural economics 'nudge unit' needs a shove in a new direction
dc.typeCommentary
local.contributor.institutionThe Australian National University
dc.date.issued2017
local.publisher.urlhttps://theconversation.com
local.type.statusPublished Version
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
dc.rights.licenseRepublish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence.
dcterms.licenseLicensed as Creative Commons - attribution, no derivatives.
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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