Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

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Every day we make countless decisions, from the small, mundane things to tackling life's big questions, but we don't always make the right choices.

Behavioural scientist Dr David Halpern heads up Number 10's 'Nudge Unit', the world's first government institution that uses behavioural economics to examine and influence human behaviour, to 'nudge' us into making better decisions. Seemingly small and subtle solutions have led to huge improvements across tax, healthcare, pensions, employment, crime reduction, energy conservation and economic growth.

Adding a crucial line to a tax reminder brought forward millions in extra revenue; refocusing the questions asked at the job centre helped an extra 10 per cent of people come off their benefits and back into work; prompting people to become organ donors while paying for their car tax added an extra 100,000 donors to the register in a single year.


After two years and dozens of experiments in behavioural science, the results are undeniable. And now David Halpern and the Nudge Unit will help you to make better choices and improve your life.

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About the author (2015)

David Halpern is the Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team and Board Director. He has led the team since its inception in 2010. Prior to that, David was the founding Director of the Institute for Government and between 2001 and 2007 was the Chief Analyst at the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. Before entering government, David held tenure at Cambridge and posts at Oxford and Harvard. He has written several books and papers on areas relating to behavioural insights and wellbeing, including Social Capital (2005), the Hidden Wealth of Nations (2010), and co-author of the MINDSPACE report. David has recently written a book about the team entitled Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference.

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