Behavioral Public Policy

Public policy needs to understand human behavior better and promote behavioral change through a more scientific approach. Both practitioners and researchers have actively embraced ‘behavioural insights’, leading to the creation of high-level policy initiatives and shifts in research attention across disciplines.

Policymakers around the world more and more often seek findings from behavioral sciences to inform public policies. The UK’s Behavioural Insights Team successfully demonstrated that in many cases the use of default options, social norms, or framing is the best and the most cost-effective response to various issues from diverse areas, such as health, energy, education, environment, financial products, consumer protection, or public service delivery.

Advanced Course
Face-to-Face & Online

Opportunies to attend this course


Tony C. Hockley

London School of Economics
United Kingdom

Alejandro Hortal

University of North Carolina at Greensboro
United States of America

Annette Cerulli-Harms


Lucas Molleman

University of Amsterdam

Course details

Topics covered

The (Ir)ristible Rise of BPP

(De)Motivating Good Behaviour

Guides for Choice Architects

BPP Design Workshop, Presentations & Conclusion

Introduction into BPP in Making

BPP: when theory meets practice

Project presentation: Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy

Reading a call for proposals, understanding clients’ needs and preparing a research design

Ethics in behavioural economics applications

Developing and Running an Experiment in Lioness Lab

What Do Heuristics Have to Do with Policymaking?

Behavioral Policymaking with Bounded Rationality

EBE & Public Policy: Introduction

Rationality in Economics vs. Rationality in Public Policies

Rationality and Values in Public Policies

Evolutionary Critique of Nudge Theory in Public Policy

Do We Have a Free Will and What Does It Mean For Public Policies?


Each lecture lasts 60 minutes. Morning lectures start at 9:30 and finish at 12:00. Afternoon lectures start at 13:30 and finish 17:30. If not set otherwise, the break after each lecture lasts 30 minutes. All times are in Central European Time (CET).

For students who participate face-to-face, there will be some icebreakers on August 8. Therefore for those who only have an advanced course (no crash course), the summer school starts on August 8.

ECTS requirements

To obtain the ECTS, a student has to get in total at least 60% of all available points which are being awarded for the following activities:

- attend all lectures (20 hrs. of WL / 1 pt. per hour, 20 in total)

- submit 4 homeworks (10 hrs. of WL / 2.5 pts. per homework, 10 in total)

- final exam (30 hrs. of WL / 30 pts.)

- final project (40 hrs. of WL / 40 pts.)


- Halpern, D. (2015). Inside the nudge unit: How small changes can make a big difference. Random House. 

- Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2009). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. Penguin. 

- Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2003). Libertarian paternalism. American economic review, 93(2), 175-179.

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