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BE Knowledge Centre: Other recommended reading

Behavioural Economics third party publications and a list of Behavioural Economics academic papers available to read online or download.


BE Knowledge Centre: Other recommended reading



Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism
by George A Akerlof and Robert J Shiller, Princeton University Press (2009)

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (2009)

Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting and Motivate Your Dentist
by Tyler Cowen, Dutton Books (2007)

Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour
by Harnessing Our True Nature
by Mark Earls, John Wiley & Sons (2007)

Spent: Sex, Evolution and the Secrets of Consumerism
by Geoffrey Miller, William Heinemann Ltd (2009)

On Roads: A Hidden History
by Joe Moran, Profile Books (2009)

Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less
by Barry Schwartz, HarperCollins (2004)

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness
by Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein, Penguin (2008)

Why We Buy
by Paco Underhill, Simon & Schuster (2008)

Influence: Science and Practice, Robert B Cialdini, Pearson Education (2008)
Online at

Persuasive Technologies: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, BJ Fogg, Morgan Kaufman (2003)
Online at:

The Advertising Effect: How To Change Behaviour, Adam Ferrier, Oxford University Press(2014)

Thinking Fast & Slow, Daniel Kahneman, Penguin (2011)



A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice’
by Herbert A Simon Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Feb. 1955), pp. 99-118

Simon was amongst the first economists to start discussing the weaknesses inherent in
assuming economic behaviour was always rational.
This 1955 paper is regarded as an early classic.

'A Psychological Perspective on Economics’
by Daniel Kahneman, American Economic Review, Vol. 93 No.2 (2003), pp. 162-168

Kahneman’s contribution is unequalled and his literature voluminous. This paper is a useful survey of the
extent and ambitions of Behavioural Economics.

'Behavioural Economics: Seven Principles for Policy Makers’,
by Emma Dawney and Hetan Shah, (2005), New Economics Foundation

This excellent survey glosses many behavioural economics ideas for the policy arena. A useful example of
how to apply academic findings to real decision making.

'Behavioral Economics: Past, Present, Future’
by Colin Camerer and George Loewenstein, Advances in Behavioral Economics, Chap. 1 (2004), pp. 3-51

This introductory chapter to a collection of 25 eminent papers is itself one of the most useful surveys of the
subject matter covered by Behavioural Economics.

'The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice’ by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, Science 211 (1981) pp. 453-458,

Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions’ by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, Journal of Business Vol. 59 No. 4 (Oct. 1986), pp. S251-S278

Two classics from the Tversky and Kahneman stable. Both demonstrate how the simple reframing of a proposition can
change people’s response to it even though neither content nor outcomes change. As framing is arguably the very business
of advertising (to present a proposition in its most favourable light) these papers are essential reading.

'A Tale of Two Pizzas: Building Up from a Basic Product Versus Scaling Down from a Fully-Loaded Product’
by Irwin P Levin, Judy Schreiber, Marco Lauriola and Gary J Gaeth, MarketingLetters, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Nov. 2002), pp. 335-344.

When given the choice between building up from a simple pizza or scaling down from a fully loaded product, people
end up in very different places. A clear example of framing, loss aversion and the endowment effect working together.

When Choice Is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?’ by S S Iyengar and M R Lepper, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 79, (2000) pp. 995-1006

The original paper to discuss choice amongst jams and apparent negative effects of increasing choice.

Placebo Effects of Marketing Actions: Consumers May Get What They Pay For’ by Baba Shiv, Ziv Carmon, and Dan Ariely, Journal of Marketing Research 383 Vol. XLII (November 2005), pp. 383-393

One of Ariely and his team’s most ingenious experiments to show that when drinking a soft drink meant to increase
mental sharpness, increasing the price of the drink actually seems to make people smarter.

Mental Accounting Matters’ by Richard H Thaler Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol. 12 (1999), pp. 183-206

The idea of earmarking money for one thing and not another is familiar to us all. Thaler analyses how this behaviour
effects how we handle money bringing an economist’s precision to an everyday phenomenon.


Frameworks & Resources

MINDSPACE: Influencing Behaviour Through Public Policy - Paul Dolan, Michael Hallsworth, Dr David Halpern, Dominic King, Ivo Vlaev . Institute of Government (2010)

The UK Government’s own process, widely used by the Behavioural Insights Team in projects lead by The Cabinet Office and adopted elsewhere. MINDSPACE is a nine-step checklist of areas of influence to consider when changing behaviour – Messenger, Incentives, Norms, Defaults, Salience, Priming, Affect, Commitment, Ego. This list is designed to challenge the normal assumptions of policy makers while reminding them of the other levers they have at their disposal (e.g. Messenger reminds ministries that the Government may not be the most credible voice for all messages).

The report can be downloaded in both full and shortened forms from:

EAST: Four Simple Ways to Apply Behavioural Insights. Behavioural Insights Team (2014)

The Behavioural Insights Team updated MINDSPACE with a simpler four part process Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely. Based on the experience of working with behavioural ideas this is a useful contribution to the art of applied behavioural thinking.

The paper can be downloaded at

Influencing Behaviour: Moving Beyond The Individual – The ISM Tool – Andrew Darnton, Jackie Horne, et al. The Scottish Government (2013)

The Scottish Government have developed their own behaviour change approach process. The initial focus was on climate change initiatives. It has a stronger focus on social, structural and collective approaches the achieving behaviour change as interventions at an individual level have often proven ineffective in policies aiming to reduce carbon impacts.

The report is available both as a Technical Guide that brings theory together and a User’s Guide. Both can be found (along with progress reports on the main climate and carbon initiatives) at:

GSR Behaviour Change Knowledge Review, Andrew Darnton, Government Social Research (2008)

Andrew Darnton produced this extensive survey of behaviour change models. The range is wide and covers models with a high reliance on the communication and comprehension of information (e.g. planned models, where people are explicitly trying to change their own behaviour) through to behavioural models closer to those discussed in this report. There is a bias towards health and welfare outcomes, but the general learning is still strong.

Still the definitive guide for people looking to find a theoretical grounding for an applied behaviour change model. It is available in two versions, a Knowledge review and a Practical User’s Guide. Both can be downloaded from The Civil Service Website:

Knowledge Review:

Practical Guide:

‘Choice Architecture and Design with Intent’, Proceedings of the 9th Bi-annual International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making, Dan Lockton, David Harrison and Neville A Stanton, 2009.

Dan Lockton and David Harrison of Brunel University, together with Neville A Stanton of the University of Southampton, have looked at the application of Choice Architecture to design. This paper also contains an excellent and useful bibliography:

There is an online Design with Intent site run by Dan Lockton: You can download the Design With Intent Flashcards from here to use as a workshop tool.

The website provides useful and nicely illustrated guides to assorted behavioural principles.


Last updated 03/03/2015

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