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    Civil servants at the Dutch authorities increasingly make use of behavioural insights in the policy process. These insights are primarily put on the agenda at the level of the national government in the Netherlands. However, they also seem to be particularly useful at the local level. After all, behaviour-conscious policy focuses on behavioural change through the redesign of the direct environments of citizens, and local authorities have a clear view and control over these environments. In the light of this potential, this article explores the current rise and institutionalization of behavioural expertise in local government. The work practices of local behavioural experts are examined on the basis of three dimensions of local government: positioning, practices and politics. The findings show that local behavioural experts are still in an experimental and start-up phase, but at the same time are already working with a wealth of behavioural assignments. In doing so, they deal tactically with scarce resources, resistance and abrasive institutional logics. The article shows that behavioural insights and designs are also promising in local government, that a local administrative landscape of behavioural expertise is already being developed; and that making meters in the field of behavioural expertise calls for several forms of coordination.


Joram Feitsma MSc
J.N.P. Feitsma MSc is promovendus bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij studeerde bestuurs- en organisatiewetenschap en filosofie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en de Washington University in Saint Louis.
Artikel

Meer dan een nudge

Gedragsexperts bij de Nederlandse overheid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden nudging, behavioral insights, behavior experts, practices, choice architecture
Auteurs Joram Feitsma Msc
Samenvatting

    Policymakers are increasingly taking notice of behavioural scientific insights to improve their policies. New occupational practices, such as ‘Behavioral Insights Teams’, are emerging within government. This article explores this emergence, based on an ethnographic study on the practices of pioneering behaviour experts in Dutch central government. It argues that the work of these behavior experts is richer and more complex than standard role models, which tend to portray policymakers as direct and standalone choice architects, assume. Three key practices of behavior experts are identified: (1) choice architecture, in various forms; (2) behaviour analysis; and (3) capacity building.


Joram Feitsma Msc
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