David Halpern

Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team and Board Director

David Halpern is the Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team (aka the nudge unit). David has led the team since its inception in 2010. Prior to that, David was the first Research Director of the Institute for Government and between 2001 and 2007 was the Chief Analyst at the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit.

"David uses insights from behavioural science to encourage people to make better choices for themselves"

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  • Inside the Nudge Unit
  • Behavioural Science or BS?
  • Can We Nudge to Net Zero?
  • Improving communications with behavioural science
  • Behavioural Science and the High Performance Organisation
  • Applying Behavioural Science to Behaviour, Decision Making and Public Policy


He presents in English.

How he presents

With a distinctive style that blends cutting-edge research with a conversational approach, David can both inform and inspire connecting with audiences of all levels and functions.

Books & Media

  • Inside the Nudge Unit

In Detail

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 well-being, including Social Capital (2005), the Hidden Wealth of Nations (2010), Online Harms and Manipulation (2019) and co-author of the MINDSPACE report. In 2015, David wrote a book about the team entitled Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference.


David shares his insights into how to improve people's lives and communities, tackling the issue of major policy problems, often through testing and implementing simple yet powerful changes.



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