- Emília Sičáková-Beblavá, Institute of Public Policy, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
- Jiří Špalek, Department of Public Economics, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
In recent years, public administrations across the world have begun to recognise the added value of incorporating insights of behavioural sciences into public policy making and public management. As a result, various forms of new measures, methodologies or even policies have been introduced.
Behavioural interventions, i.e. measures that ought to lead individuals or organisations towards a particular behaviour through positive influence on their decisions, seized perhaps most of the attention during the past few years for the subtleness of their attempted influence. If skilfully and ethically designed, nudges and boosts could help drive behavioural change where it is needed. The challenge remains as to whom and how will they safeguard the quality and ethics of these measures? Furthermore, when are these new measures an appropriate option, what are their limits and how precisely can we determine them?
Behavioural insights also make us rethink the very purpose of public policies. Policies seen from the behavioural perspective should be firmly interlinked with particular forms of behaviour, for it is a particular behavioural response – the compliance of policy subjects with policy´s rules - that is the ultimate goal of a great many policies. This, of course, brings about a variety of challenges. Great stress on evidence-based policy making is, for instance, brought about hand in hand with such a behavioural approach, yet public administrations are, on many occasions, not yet ready for it.
The increasing number of comprehensive catalogues describing attempts to utilise behavioural interventions by local, national and international public administrations is nonetheless proving that however demanding behavioural public policy may be, it is nothing unless it can be meaningfully done.
We are, in other words, witnessing an emergence of a new field in public administration and management that bridges scientific research with the actual practice of public administrators/managers. The panel on research concerning behavioural public policies is thus a response to this trend.
The objectives of the Panel and the topics to be covered
The objective of this panel is to discuss and network the research conducted within the behavioural sciences area and provide a platform for current, cutting-edge researchers concerned with solving public policy issues by employing behavioural insights. The focus of the panel is on research that belongs to the area of behavioural and experimental economics, political sciences, public policy and public management, whose conclusions are relevant in today´s innovative public administrators across the globe and whose methods satisfy current scientific standards set out, especially by research in cognitive psychology and experimental economics.
While theoretical papers are welcomed, this panel will especially welcome papers describing applied research that is concerned with the utilisation of behavioural insights by public administrations. The topics should be related to behavioural experiments to improve public administration, public services and/or public policies´ efficiency, field studies using behavioural insights, or nudges. Such research is particularly important in the CEE region’s countries, where evidence-based policy is still more the exception than the general rule.
Requirements for contributions
Abstracts from all scholars and professionals with an interest in behavioural experiments in the public sector, including from practitioners working in the sector, are welcomed. Papers can be theoretical, empirical, and/or have an analytical focus that relates to the above mentioned themes.
Structure of the proposed abstract
• Data and methodology
• Expected findings