Presentation to the Institute for Government

On Tuesday 20 September, Paul presented his thinking on “Beyond Nudging in the Big Society” to an audience at the Institute for Government.

This is his PowerPoint presentation (link) and here is the link to IFG’s website (Paul at IFG).

The main thrust of Paul’s presentation was to discuss how, broadly speaking, since the Second World War, public policy has been built around the notion of the ‘rational agent’, considered as if he or she sat in isolation to the rest of society.  Paul stressed that the world is just not like this anymore, even if it ever was.  We are far more aware than ever about the behaviour, choices and opinions of others.  We are influenced directly by others, through our social networks, both ‘real world’ ones like family, friends, colleagues, and on-line networks.  This is a completely different view of how people behave, requiring complete different approaches from policy makers.  Responding to a question from the audience, Paul said that we can think of traditional microeconomics as a special case of a network approach because we arrive at the former by removing the links in a network: we are left with agents acting in isolation.

For any questions about this presentation and the policy implications of a network approach, contact Greg by email –

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