How government’s behavioural insights team has won over sceptics and it is now ‘nudging’ behaviour across the world

post1Who has signed up an extra 100,000 organ donors a year, persuaded 20% more people to consider switching energy provider, doubled the number of army applicants – and will certainly be consulted on the spending review that calls for £20bn cuts to Whitehall budgets?

Step forward David Halpern, chief executive of the behavioural insights team, which has quadrupled in size since it was spun out of government in February 2014. Now a private company jointly owned by the Cabinet Office, Nesta and its employees, the “nudge unit” (nicknamed after the best-selling book by economist Richard H Thaler) permeates almost every area of government policy.

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