Nudge theory trials ‘are working’ say officials

BBC News

Trials suggest millions of pounds could be saved by using “nudge theory” about how people behave to encourage them to pay taxes and fines, officials say.

Trials organised by a special government unit suggest so-called “nudge theory” could play a “key role” in reducing fraud, error and debt.

Using simpler language in letters, highlighting key messages and stressing “social norms” have boosted compliance.

In one case, a local authority saved £240,000 on false council tax claims.

Nudge theory is seen as a way of producing positive economic and social outcomes without resorting to bans or increased regulation.

The Cabinet Office established a “behaviour insights team” after the 2010 general election and the unit has published details of some of the work it has been doing in the past eighteen months.

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