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Tackling Environmental Problems with the Help of Behavioural Insights

image of Tackling Environmental Problems with the Help of Behavioural Insights

Behavioural insights can help policy makers obtain a deeper understanding of the behavioural mechanisms contributing to environmental problems, and design and implement more effective policy interventions. This report reviews recent developments in the application of behavioural insights to encourage more sustainable consumption, investment and compliance decisions by individuals and firms.

Drawing on interventions initiated by ministries and agencies responsible for environment and energy, as well as cross-government behavioural insights teams, it portrays how behavioural sciences have been integrated into the policy-making process. The report covers a variety of policy areas: energy, water and food consumption, transport and car choice, waste management and resource efficiency, compliance with environmental regulation and participation in voluntary schemes. It shows what has proven to work – and what has not – in policy practice in OECD countries and beyond.

 

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Executive summary

Policy needs to be developed on the basis of realistic representations of the mechanisms driving individual and collective decision-making. Insights from the behavioural sciences, such as behavioural economics, psychology and neuroscience can help policy makers obtain a deeper understanding of the behavioural mechanisms that contribute to environmental problems, and design and implement more effective policy interventions. Behavioural insights (BIs) are a complementary tool to traditional policy instruments, such as pricing and regulation.

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