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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Behavioural Instruments Challenging Regulatory Governance? Analytical and Empirical Dimensions of the Behavioural Turn in Public Policy

European Politics
Policy Analysis
Policy Change
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Jan Pollex
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Panel Co-Chair
Andrea Lenschow
Osnabrück University
Panel Discussant
Andrea Lenschow
Osnabrück University

24/08/2018 11:00 - 12:40
Building: VMP 8 Floor: 1 Room: 105
Recently, increasing attention is directed towards a behavioural turn in public policy analysis. While conventional instruments sometimes lack effectiveness in regard to envisaged results, behavioural instruments use psychological and cognitive foundations of human behaviour intending to make or nudge addressees to do something. The establishment of behavioural insights divisions in the UK and United States government provides evidence of an increased interest in using behavioural instruments among policy makers and in public policy. Prominent examples of the application of behavioural instruments can be found in health or tax policy.
The turn to new or innovative governance instruments in the 1990s and onwards can offer empirical background for research dealing with a behavioural turn in policy. But despite a growing body of research and literature there is still little known about how behavioural instruments and behavioural governance approaches relate to existing regulatory styles and instruments: How do behavioural instrument fit existing analytical approaches – do they represent a distinct type or complementary tools to existing policies? How do they change or challenge regulatory governance – how/under what conditions do behavioural insights improve effective regulation; what are the legal and ethical implications? The panel tries to link existing empirical and analytical perspectives to behavioural innovations in governance.
First, the panel gathers insights from empirical research and tries to link them to the questions:
(1) Do behavioural governance approaches represent genuinely novel approach to impact regulatee’s behaviour or do they complement existing governance attempts?
(2) Do they adapt governance approaches, i.e. add new dimensions, or do they revolutionise conventional styles of governance?
Second, the panel tries to link these insights to existing analytical approaches to clarify whether innovative behavioural instruments change the nature of policy making and governance. Therefore, the panel asks:
(1) Can we analyse behavioural governance attempts with existing analytical models or do we need to revise these analytical approaches? Or do we need new research approaches and models?
(2) How can we grasp behavioural approaches in regard to their effectiveness and their legitimacy?
Especially, the aspect of legitimacy seems crucial from a policy perspective. While regulatory governance is transparent (i.e. policy goals, instruments, and consequences of non-compliance) behavioural approaches tend to be ‘hidden’ from the regulatees. While the role of science is considerable in the design of behavioural instruments, the impact of such instruments may be difficult to trace, posing novel challenges in monitoring effects and determining policy outcomes. Thus, the panel seeks to contribute to an understanding of evolutions of regulatory governance and add to analytical and normative reflections on these changes.

Paper List

Title Details
Context’ and ‘Evidence’ in Behavioural Insights: Critical Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Political Geography and Public Administration View Paper Details
Not All About the Numbers: Risk and Self-Regulation in the EU-Wide Banking Stress Tests View Paper Details
The Consumer as the Great Unknown: How Do Policymakers Address Their Targets?” View Paper Details
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