Nudge-u-cation - Can behavioural science boost education and social mobility?

2 March 2018

PBE welcomes David Halpern to The Royal Society

Wednesday 28th March 2018, 19:00

6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

There are a limited number of free tickets for this event. Suggested donation to Pro Bono Economics is minimum £10.

We are pleased to announce that Nomura will be our headline sponsor again this year.


Please register via Eventbrite.

Over the last decade, governments across the world have begun to revise policy on the basis of more realistic and empirical models of human behaviour. This has led to improvements in employment, public health, tax collection, savings, energy conservation, giving, and reoffending outcomes. Often these improvements have been achieved at dramatically lower cost than through conventional policy levers.

Behavioural approaches have also helped encourage the much wider use of experimental methods – notably the randomised control trial – in routine policymaking. In the UK, this empiricism has found expression in the ‘What Works’ movement and network, including the creation of independent What Works centres covering education, crime, early intervention, local economic growth, well-being, better ageing and, most recently, youth social work. 

This talk will explore the breadth, depth and potential of this movement. It will dig into the area of education and social mobility as an example of the power and cutting edge of this approach, as well as rehearsing some of the key barriers that remain to its even greater impact. We are delighted to feature David Halpern, CEO of the Behavioural Insights Team as well as prominent figures from the education sphere to discuss the rise of behavioural and experimental techniques in education policy.


David Halpern will be joined on the panel by:


Professor Sandra McNally from the London School of Economics

Chris Brown, Principal of The Bridge Academy, Hackney


The event will be followed by a drinks and canapés reception.

Pro Bono Economics is a registered charity, which relies on philanthropic donations (charity no.1130567). Learn more at:


Please register via Eventbrite.

About David Halpern

David Halpern is the Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team and Board Director. He has led the team since its inception in 2010. Prior to that, David was the founding Director of the Institute for Government and between 2001 and 2007 was the Chief Analyst at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. David was also appointed as the What Works National Advisor in July 2013. He supports the What Works Network and leads efforts to improve the use of evidence across government. Before entering government, David held tenure at Cambridge and posts at Oxford and Harvard. He has written several books and papers on areas relating to behavioural insights and wellbeing, including Social Capital (2005), the Hidden Wealth of Nations (2010), Inside the Nudge Unit (2015) and co-author of the MINDSPACE report.

Headline sponsor: Nomura

Nomura is an Asia-headquartered financial services group with an integrated global network spanning over 30 countries. By connecting markets East & West, Nomura services the needs of individuals, institutions, corporates and governments through its four business divisions: Retail, Asset Management, Wholesale (Global Markets and Investment Banking), and Merchant Banking. Founded in 1925, the firm is built on a tradition of disciplined entrepreneurship, serving clients with creative solutions and considered thought leadership. For further information about Nomura, visit

For further information about Nomura, visit:


YouGov is a global market research and data company built on a simple idea: The more people participate in the decisions made by the institutions that serve them, the better those decisions will be. YouGov included questions on social mobility and education to provide content that will support discussions as part of PBE's Annual Lecture (

News categories: 

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and information.