Public sector catch-up: experimental regulators, data standards, job losses


Small data, or just data, is better than the current “big data” focus, says a government wonk from the UK. Meanwhile, economist Ross Gittens has some lessons in behavioural economics for regulators. And Australia’s marks are in on the social progress index.

Experimental regulators

Ross Gittens explains how regulators can use behavioural economics to improve their efforts for better outcomes (hat tip to the Public Sector Innovation Toolkit). Gittens cites the Australian Securities and Investments Commission commissioning research from the Queensland University of Technology Business School to understand what attracts investors to hybrid securities, and found a link to overconfidence or “suffering from the illusion of control”:

“With better information about what it is that attracts some investors to buy hybrids, the commission should be able craft more effective warnings to people who need to think a lot more carefully before they leap in.

“Of course, it also helps to know how to word your warnings. A growing number of government regulatory bodies around the word have found that different ways of writing a letter can have a surprising effect on the way people respond to it – whether they ignore it or act on it.

“The commission asked the Queensland behavioural economics group to suggest ways of improving its letters to the directors of companies in liquidation, reminding them of their legal duty to co-operate with the liquidator in handing over the company’s books and providing any other information.

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