The notes from my talk on behavioural economics in Kenmare are available on this link.
The last 10 years has seen a dramatic increase in the policy interest surrounding behavioural economics. The appointment of Cass Sunstein to a chief regulatory post in the US, the influence of Richard Thaler on the policy platforms of both Obama and Cameron, the establishment of the UK Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team and a number of high-level conferences held by DG Sanco, all signal a growing interest in this field. This paper examines the potential implications of this literature for Irish public policy. In 2014, Ireland aims to move toward a national autoenrolment system for pensions, a move arising from the behavioural literature. Soft paternalist policies in areas such as health insurance, energy policy, education, innovation, consumer policy and so on, potentially offer a new approach to key policy questions. This approach has promise and benefits from detailed experimental results arising from other jurisdictions but it is extremely important to understand the foundations of behavioural approaches to policy and the principles guiding good design and evaluation.