Understanding behaviour change for better policy making

The Government Equalities Office has published the final report by ISER’s Professor of Public Policy, Shamit Saggar, completed as part of the Knowledge Exchange Fellowship on behaviour change approaches to equalities policy commissioned by GEO and the ESRC in 2012.

The Complementary and Alternative Pathways to Equality (CAPE) project was conducted over the course of 2013. Included in the final report are a review of the theory, policy examples from equalities and wider policy making and regulation, as well as a toolkit for policy makers interested in using behaviour change approaches. Findings of the project were presented to officials in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in November 2013.

As the fellow, Prof Shamit Saggar was responsible for conducting the project, with administrative support from GEO and DCMS analysis teams.

Professor Saggar said:

“This is a vital starting point for those concerned with policy-making. Knowing about how people live their lives in practice helps to account not just for poor individual choices but also for the regular patterns in individuals’ choices. People often pay attention to messages that emanate from messengers they find credible, and ignore others. They are loss averse, unwilling to admit failure, distracted by others they relate to, and shun overly complex things. Crucially, without external stimulus, they are unlikely to want to change habitual behaviour and choose a new default.”


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