A service of the

Forum

Nudging in Public Policy: Application, Opportunities and Challenges

One of the most discussed contemporary ideas in policy making is Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s proposal to influence people’s choices without coercing them by improving the “architecture” of their choices. Many governments have implemented behaviourally informed policies, focusing on “nudges” – interventions that preserve freedom of choice, but that also steer people in certain directions. This Forum, featuring contributions by Cass R. Sunstein, Lucia A. Reisch, Xavier Troussard, René van Bavel, Monique Goyens, and Daniel M. Hausman, addresses both the opportunities and challenges presented by the application of behavioural insights to policy making. What do citizens actually think about behaviourally informed policies? Is this method of influencing choices ethically acceptable? Should the findings of behavioural economics be alarming to normative economists, in that they threaten the grounds upon which economists evaluate alternatives?

Figure of the Month

Behavioural Insights in EU Policy

This figure from the article How Can Behavioural Insights Be Used to Improve EU Policy? by Xavier Troussard and René van Bavel shows how behavioural insights are utilised in the EU policy cycle. Click in the figure for further information.

Editorial

Europe in 2018: Less Populist, More Popular?

A year ago, Europe seemed to be under siege by populist forces. The worst of those fears proved unfounded. However, while Europe's far-right surge has stalled, the populist threat has certainly not gone away. Furthermore, despite the encouraging economic developments, there are persistent divergences between euro area economies. European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici details how Europe should face these challenges in 2018.

Platform Economy

Regulating the Platform Economy: How to Protect Workers While Promoting Innovation

The rise of the platform economy has made it a topic of great interest among European policymakers. How can the productivity gains associated with the platform economy be distributed throughout society? How can policymakers support innovation while also protecting consumers, workers and communities?

Letter from America

Is Renewed EU Optimism Justified?

Barry Eichengreen looks at renewed EU optimism and assesses whether it is warranted. Will the European economy continue to grow? Will 2018 be another year of much talk but little actual progress on institutional reform?

Quote of the Month

Behavioural Economics in Consumer Policy

“While behavioural economics has emerged rather recently as a new and heavily underexploited policy tool to promote consumer interests and restore market failures, its underlying principles have been well understood – and heavily exploited – by companies for decades.”

from Monique Goyens's Forum article "Using Behavioural Economics For Rather than Against Consumers – A Practitioner's Perspective"

From the Archives

What Future for the EU After Brexit?

How should the EU react to the decision of the UK to withdraw from the union? This is the question that has been at the centre of the political debate in Europe since Brexit became a reality. In this article, Paul De Grauwe discusses the nature of the reforms that are called for as a result of the Brexit vote.