Behavioural Insights Team

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The Behavioural Insights Team (also known unofficially as the Nudge Unit) is an organisation that was set up to apply nudge theory to try to save the UK government money.[1][2] Originally set up as a team within the Cabinet Office, it is now a limited company, Behavioural Insights Limited. It is headed by psychologist David Halpern.

The team was set up in 2010 by the coalition government in a probationary fashion.[1] In April 2013 it was announced that it would be partially privatised as a mutual joint venture.[3] On 5 February 2014 its ownership was split equally between the government, the charity Nesta and the team's employees.[4]


One of the projects they were involved with was to increase the rate of loft insulation. Although loft insulation was essentially a zero-risk proposition there were few people having it installed. The nudge unit discovered that people's lofts were full of junk, and provided low-cost labour to clear them; this caused a fivefold increase in the proportion of installed insulation.[2]

The unit has convinced 100,000 more people to carry organ donor cards by making small changes to the wording of messages on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency website where people renew driving licences.[4]

In June 2012, they published a policy paper on the use of randomised controlled trials in collaboration with Ben Goldacre.[5]


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