Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2097: Behavioural Public Policy and the Nudge Agenda

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Alice Moseley (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


How are policy makers using the insights of behavioural economics and social psychology to develop new and innovative ways of delivering public policy? In this module you will be introduced to the emerging field of behavioural ‘nudge’-inspired public policy. Behavioural interventions offer much potential for tackling some of society’s most pressing challenges but the jury is still very much out, both on the ethics and on the effectiveness of this way of doing public policy. You will learn about how nudges are being used in policy areas like health, savings, climate change, and taxation, and discuss the theory and assumptions underpinning these approaches.  As a class we will appraise the emerging evidence about the effectiveness of behavioural policy interventions, and discuss ethical issues and controversies surrounding the use of an approach which has been characterised by some critics as manipulative and non-transparent. This module will appeal to politics or other social science students with interests in applied public policy, ethics in public policy and human behaviour.  It does not require prior specialist knowledge of statistics, psychology or economics, and is recommended for those on interdisciplinary pathways.

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