Department of Political Science


Video: Professor Peter John Inaugural Lecture

29 November 2012

Professor Peter John Inaugural Lecture from Department of Political Science on Vimeo.


UCL Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre on 20 November 2012

Lecture title

Experimentation, Behaviour Change and Public Policy

About this lecture

Many of the greatest challenges in public policy can only be fully addressed by changing the behavior of citizens. Climate change, poor economic growth, obesity and crime are just some of the problems that need action on the part of the public as well as from governments. But governments do not know enough about how to influence behavior; in particular, the need to find out the most appropriate ways to engage citizens so they consent to—and participate in—decisions that are made about them. Greater use of experiments—randomized controlled trials (RCTs)—is one way to increase policy relevant knowledge on behavior change. Peter John will give examples of experiments he has undertaken, which illustrate how academics can lead the way in the creation of relevant knowledge. He will acknowledge both the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental method, and set out how governments and academics can design and use RCTs in better ways.


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