Regulators have always been intensely interested in the theory and practice of achieving individual and business compliance. Whether it’s the Dutch incentives framework, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s compliance posture or new models to predict compliance with COVID-19 rules (see here for an example), there are many ways of identifying drivers of compliance.

For a brief, optimistic period behavioural science was thought to be the ‘silver bullet’ which would solve every compliance problem in government, but it can never be the only compliance tool in regulators’ tool kits. It can assist though, as demonstrated by a number of projects in the environmental regulation space conducted by BehaviourWorks Australia (BWA) which show how regulators can be aided by well-designed and appropriate use of applied behavioural science. This short article outlines three simple rules to help regulators gain the greatest benefit from new and applied research in behavioural science.

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