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Behavioural Economics Team of Australia
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WHO WE ARE
We are the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government, or BETA.
We are the Australian Government’s first central unit applying behavioural economics to improve public policy, programs and processes. Rather than expecting people to redesign their lives around government, our work encourages people-centred design, which means: simpler, clearer and faster public services.
We use behavioural economics, science and psychology to improve policy outcomes.
Our mission is to build behavioural economics capability across the public service and drive its use in policy design by testing what works, where and in what context.
BETA’s mission is to build behavioural economics capability across the Australian Public Service and drive its use in policy design by testing what works. To do this, BETA is committed to fostering links between the Australian Public Service and the behavioural economics research community, here and overseas, that will lead to better outcomes for Australians.
Research and evidence is the cornerstone of the behavioural insights movement. From the establishment of the UK “Nudge Team” which focused on translating insights from the behavioural sciences into policy design, it has been clear that coupling a more sophisticated understanding of behaviour with rigorous evaluation, particularly randomised controlled trials, has been a great formula for success. The proliferation of other similar teams across the world and in Australia has continued to draw on these evidence based insights, making numerous improvements to policy, program and service delivery. Growing demand for this evidence has been met with a growing body of research in behavioural economics. In order to maintain the momentum of the movement, it is increasingly important to foster relationships between academia and government so that the relevant expertise reaches areas that it has the greatest capacity to benefit.
How to best link policy makers and academia is a long standing challenge. With the growing interest and demand for behavioural science, there are many opportunities to better connect the APS and academia. BETA is undertaking a range of activities to contribute to fostering better connection, creation and translation of behavioural economics research to policy. This directory forms one part of our engagement strategy. It is a useful tool to support greater engagement and facilitate well aligned connections. Given the growth of this sector, it can be a complex and time consuming task to identify the most relevant experts for specific policy problems. The aim of this directory is to make this task simpler by cutting down transaction and search costs of finding Australian academics and experts in the fields of behavioural economics (and behavioural science more broadly).
This directory focuses on Australian academic experts, whose research has the greatest relevance to the Australian policy context. There are a number of Australian universities that are setting up dedicated behavioural economics groups with capacity to conduct field and lab experiments. Examples are the Queensland University of Technology’s Behavioural Economics Group (QuBE), Monash University’s Experimental Research Insights Team and Behaviour Works Group, and the University of Western Australia’s collaboration with CSIRO to establish the Behavioural Economics Laboratory. Future editions of this directory may be expanded to include international experts, particularly where there is a relevant subject matter focus. This directory will be updated regularly and circulated to members of our community of practice.