Behavioural Public Policy in Australia How an Idea Became Practice
Using rich ethnographic data and first-hand experience, Ball presents a detailed account of Australia’s attempts to incorporate behavioural insights into its public policy.
Ball identifies three competing interpretations of behavioural public policy, and how these interpretations have influenced the use of this approach in practice. The first sees the process as an opportunity to introduce more rigorous evidence. The second interpretation focuses on increasing compliance, cost savings and cutting red tape. The last focuses on the opportunity to better involve citizens in policy design. These interpretations demonstrate different ‘solutions’ to a series of dilemmas that the Australian Public Service, and others, have confronted in the last 50 years, including growing politicisation, technocracy and a disconnect from the needs of citizens. Ball offers a detailed account of how these priorities have shaped how behavioural insights have been implemented in policy-making, as well as reflecting on the challenges facing policy work more broadly.
An essential read for practitioners and scholars of policy-making, especially in Australia.