Dr David Halpern

Chief Executive at The Behavioural Insights Team

Chief Executive, Behavioural Insight Team

In 2010, David Cameron set up the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) also known as the ‘Nudge Unit’ at Number 10 Downing Street, which uses behavioural economics to examine and influence human behaviour; to ‘nudge’ us to make better decisions.

Dr David Halpern, a behavioural scientist, has headed up BIT, now a social purpose company, since 2010. The approach is to make small changes to policy to lead to improvements across tax, healthcare, pensions, employment, crime reduction, energy conservation and economic growth. In this lecture David will draw on his 2015 book, Inside the Nudge Unit, to reflect on the nudge approach and the application of behavioural economics to public policy.

David is the Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team. He has led the team since its inception in 2010. Prior to that, David was the founding Director of the Institute for Government and between 2001 and 2007 was the Chief Analyst at the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. David was also appointed as the What Works National Advisor in July 2013. He supports the What Works Network and leads efforts to improve the use of evidence across government. Before entering government, David held tenure at Cambridge and posts at Oxford and Harvard. He has written several books and papers on areas relating to behavioural insights and wellbeing, including Social Capital (2005), the Hidden Wealth of Nations (2010), Inside the Nudge Unit (2015) and co-author of the MINDSPACE report.