Dr Rory Gallagher, The Behavioural Insights Team


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Elise Kalokerinos


To nudge or not to nudge: When and why we use behavioural insights, and where to next

Over a decade ago, Thaler and Sunstein published Nudge and catapulted behavioural science into the political mainstream. It also led to the creation of The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) - often referred to as the Nudge Unit - and there are now hundreds of units applying behavioural science to policy problems around the world. But with ten years of experience under our belt, what have we learnt about the art and science, strengths and limits of applied behavioural science? Is nudging always the right tool for the job? Have we become too reliant on a subset of nudges, at the expense of deeper reforms and changes? Join Dr Rory Gallagher, founding member of the Behavioural Insights Team, as he explores the successes and criticisms of nudging, the behavioural toolkit, and where behavioural insights can grow over the next decade.

About the speaker

Dr Rory Gallagher leads the Behavioural Insights Team’s work across Australia and the Asia-Pacific, and has been with BIT since its inception in 2010. He has led BI trials and policy interventions across the region in a range of policy areas, from employment and education, to health and housing.  Based in Sydney since November 2012, Rory led the establishment of the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Behavioural Insights Unit — the first Australian agency dedicated to applying BI to public policy. He also set up and leads BIT’s Australia office, which works with a number of State and Commonwealth Departments, as well as NGOs and philanthropic bodies across the country.  Rory holds a PhD in health and behaviour change from Cambridge University. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Singapore Civil Service College since 2014, and an Honorary member of the University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences since 2018. Prior to joining BIT, Rory worked in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and the UK Department of Education. He is the co-author of ‘Think Small: The surprisingly simple ways to reach big goals’.

To be added to the MSPS School Colloquium mailing list, please email Dr. Elise Kalokerinos (elise.kalokerinos@unimelb.edu.au).

Please see the event recording below.

MSPS Colloquium: Dr Rory Gallagher, The Behavioural Insights Team from MSPS | Unimelb on Vimeo.