Public policy is often influenced by a presumption that individuals act rationally in their own best interests. This is clearly not always the case. People act intuitively and can make mistakes that they later regret. And many make sacrifices for the benefit of others. Behavioural economics merges psychology, economics and other disciplines to try to understand the way we actually behave in the marketplace.
This roundtable explored the application of behavioural economics to public policy development and addressed two main questions: how do behavioural economic insights help policy makers achieve given policy goals more effectively; and can the findings of behavioural economics be used to support or justify a particular policy goal?
Invitees to the roundtable included eminent international experts in this field, as well as senior officials, business and consumer representatives, policy analysts and commentators. Speakers' papers are now available online.