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08 June 2018

Recap of 'How Far to Nudge?' Book Launch

Professor Peter John has launched his new book. 'How far to Nudge?', in The Exchange, Bush House

The audience in The Exchange for Peter John's book launch
The audience in The Exchange for Peter John's book launch

A full house occupied ‘The Exchange’ Tuesday evening (5 June 2018) when Professor Peter John from the Department of Political Economy (DPE) launched his new book How Far to Nudge?. The event consisted of a panel discussion – chaired by Professor Mark Pennington, Head of DPE – with Dr David Halpern, CEO of BIT, Professor Helen Margetts, Lord Gus O’Donnell and Professor Peter John. The participants discussed what they liked about the book, engaged in a wider discussion of behavioural economics, and answered questions from the audience during a ten-minute Q & A.

The Department of Political Economy would like to thank everyone who joined us to celebrate Professor Peter John’s achievement. We would also like to thank our panellists, who provided excellent commentary and discussion, and our professional services staff for making sure that the department ran a successful and smooth event.

About the book: How Far to Nudge? is about the diffusion of behavioural public policies across the world, which governments have introduced to improve policy outcomes. Policy-makers increasingly deploy psychological insights to design light-touch measures or nudges that are along the grain of their cognitions and appeal to their good natures.

In this book, Peter John reviews why governments need to address citizens’ behaviours, conveying the origins of behavioural economics and explaining how its ideas become translated into public policies. He traces the emergence of nudge units, and gives examples of the kinds of initiatives policy-makers have introduced, such as on organ donation and improving tax collection.

The many criticisms of nudge are reviewed and ethical questions are also addressed. Peter John makes the case for a more radical version of nudge, nudge plus, that takes into account the capacity for individual reflection, and which can be used by any group or citizen, even to nudge the nudgers.

Read more about How Far to Nudge? here.

In this story

Mark  Pennington

Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy