Behavioural Public Policy: Future Challenges

People do not always behave rationally and the idea that effective public policy should embrace this fact has taken hold in recent years. In the UK, in particular, the concept of behavioural public policy has made great inroads at Whitehall where trials have had great success at little cost.

Australian Government agencies are increasingly embracing the idea too: there is a groundswell of interest in how 'nudge' policy has been effective. But such policies have also come under increasingly fierce criticism on the grounds that it is just another springboard for liberal paternalism and that questionable ethical judgements may be inherent to these approaches. In this workshop, we assessed the progress made with behavioural policy insights - and considered how far we can push the insights gained into new policy domains.

Benefits to participants

  • Gained a deeper appreciation of the rationale underpinning the behavioural policy framework, its implications and future challenges
  • Heard from speakers who provided practical insights and illustrations the challenges posed by behavioural insights in terms of policies and policy making
  • Heard from leading academics from the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland, as well as from leading practitioners


This was an interactive, participatory seminar. Presenters actively engaged with participants' own experiences and questions to ensure the material is relevant to all, and that the shared collective knowledge and experience of other attendees leaves participants armed with practical solutions as well as new ideas.

This workshop was designed for middle managers and senior executives in government, as well as those working closely with government in not-for-profit and commercial organisations.


  • Dr Alex Gyani, Behavioural Insights, UK Cabinet Office, NSW Dept of Premier and Cabinet
  • Professor Brian Head, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland
  • Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, Melbourne Institute, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr Mike Pottenger, Victorian Competition & Efficiency Commission
  • Ms Maria Katsonis, Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet