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Rethinking the role of experts and expertise in behavioural public policy

Rethinking the role of experts and expertise in behavioural public policy
Rethinking the role of experts and expertise in behavioural public policy
Nudge and behavioural public policy tools have won support from governments across the world for improving the effectiveness of public interventions. Yet nudge still attracts strong criticisms for promoting paternalism and manipulation as legitimate government actions. To move beyond this divide, this paper offers a comprehensive reorientation, which is necessary because the intellectual foundations of the policy are at fault. A more secure foundation can be achieved by expanding the cognitive scope of behavioural policy, and ensuring that it does not rely on the narrow assumption that intuitive reasoning is flawed and that expert advice is always preferable. This shift in the cognitive range of nudge moves behavioural policy toward citizen reflection and initiative, pointing away from expert-led interventions. It amounts to more than incremental advances in nudge practice. As a result, nudge can escape the charge of not respecting individual autonomy. What we call 'nudge plus' would link more closely with other types of governmental intervention that embrace citizen involvement.
0305-5736
209-226
John, Peter
7f349277-6dac-49ab-9948-1af16f0655e1
Stoker, Gerard
209ba619-6a65-4bc1-9235-cba0d826bfd9
John, Peter
7f349277-6dac-49ab-9948-1af16f0655e1
Stoker, Gerard
209ba619-6a65-4bc1-9235-cba0d826bfd9

John, Peter and Stoker, Gerard (2019) Rethinking the role of experts and expertise in behavioural public policy. Policy & Politics, 47 (2), 209-226. (doi:10.1332/030557319X15526371698257).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Nudge and behavioural public policy tools have won support from governments across the world for improving the effectiveness of public interventions. Yet nudge still attracts strong criticisms for promoting paternalism and manipulation as legitimate government actions. To move beyond this divide, this paper offers a comprehensive reorientation, which is necessary because the intellectual foundations of the policy are at fault. A more secure foundation can be achieved by expanding the cognitive scope of behavioural policy, and ensuring that it does not rely on the narrow assumption that intuitive reasoning is flawed and that expert advice is always preferable. This shift in the cognitive range of nudge moves behavioural policy toward citizen reflection and initiative, pointing away from expert-led interventions. It amounts to more than incremental advances in nudge practice. As a result, nudge can escape the charge of not respecting individual autonomy. What we call 'nudge plus' would link more closely with other types of governmental intervention that embrace citizen involvement.

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Accepted/In Press date: 30 January 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 March 2019
Published date: April 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431660
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431660
ISSN: 0305-5736
PURE UUID: c1e2b986-903d-4f6c-b71d-6e49111657b6

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Date deposited: 12 Jun 2019 16:30
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 16:32

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