Traditionally, neoclassical economics, which assumes that people rationally maximize their self-interest, has strongly influenced public and private sector policymaking and implementation. Today, policymakers increasingly appreciate the applicability of the behavioral sciences, which advance a more realistic and complex view of individual, group, and organizational behavior. In this article, we summarize differences between traditional economic and behavioral approaches to policy. We take stock of reasons economists have been so successful in influencing policy and examine cases in which behavioral scientists have had substantial impact. We emphasize the benefits of a problem-driven approach and point to ways to more effectively bridge the gap between behavioral science and policy, with the goal of increasing both supply of and demand for behavioral insights in policymaking and practice.


Additional Information

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pp. 1-12
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2023
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