Empowering citizens with behavioural science

Hosted by the Hayek Programme and the Department of Social Policy

In-person and online public event (Auditorium, Centre Building)


Professor Ralph Hertwig

Professor Ralph Hertwig


Dr Barbara Fasolo

Behavioural public policy has gained significant attention recently due to two key factors: political debates over government size and role, and the globally influential approach of nudging.

Nudging promises that minor adjustments in choice architecture can influence decisions without altering incentives. However, nudging has also been criticized, including objections to its soft paternalism and its neglect of agency, autonomy, and the longevity of behaviour change. In response to such criticisms— and the proliferation of highly engineered and manipulative, commercial choice architectures—other behavioural policy approaches have been proposed, focusing on empowering citizens to make well-informed decisions. Those approaches are based on a view of human cognitive and motivational capacities that goes beyond the deficit model underlying nudge. In the face of systemic problems such as climate change, pandemics, threats to liberal democracies, and rapid cycles of technological innovations, evidence-informed investments in a competent, informed, and active citizenry seem an essential—though not—sufficient policy approach. This talk will outline recent developments in conceptual and empirical research that aims to empower citizens by boosting their competences.

Meet our speaker and chair

Ralph Hertwig is Director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Hertwig’s research focuses on models of bounded rationality such as simple heuristics, on the importance of learning and decisions from experience, on the measurement of risk preferences, and on ways to change people’s behaviour for the better by boosting their competences.

Barbara Fasolo (@barbarafasolo) is Director of LSE Behavioural Lab for Research and Teaching and Associate Professor in Behavioural Science at the LSE Department of Management. Fasolo’s latest research focuses on strategic decision processes in the presence of risk and conflicting objectives, and improving them via interventions, training and decision technology.  Before joining the LSE, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Adaptive Behaviour of Cognition group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

More about this event

This event will be available to watch on LSE Live. LSE Live is the new home for our live streams, allowing you to tune in and join the global debate at LSE, wherever you are in the world. If you can't attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE's YouTube channel.

The Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (@STICERD_LSE) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) were established in 1978 with funds donated by Suntory Limited and the (then) Toyota Motor Company Limited of Japan, with further donations from Suntory Limited in 1984 and 1989 and the Toyota Motor Corporation in 1995. 

The Department of Social Policy (@LSESocialPolicy) provides top quality international and multidisciplinary research and teaching on social and public policy challenges facing countries across the world.

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