Working to make government more effective

David Halpern


Dr David Halpern is currently director of the Behavioural Insights Team, a mutual joint venture with the government and Nesta, where he has been leading efforts to use behavioural insights to improve public service delivery across government.

Previously David was chief analyst in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (2001–07). He led numerous reviews, including the UK government’s strategic audits and recent policy reviews; set up the Social Exclusion Task Force and drafted its action plan; and authored many of the Strategy Unit’s most influential papers, such as those on life satisfaction, personal responsibility and behaviour change.

Before entering government, he held tenure at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge University. He has also held posts at Nuffield College, Oxford; the Policy Studies Institute, London; as a visiting professor at the Centre for European Studies, Harvard; and was the first research director of the Institute for Government.

He has published widely including the books Hidden Wealth of Nations (2009); Social Capital (2005); Options for Britain: a strategic policy review (1996); Options for a New Britain (2009) and Mental Health and the Built Environment (1995).

All work

08 DEC 2011 Comment

In it together or just for ourselves?

The BSA reveals three-quarters of people think the rich-poor gap is too large, but only a third think the government should redistribute more.

01 JUL 2010 Comment

An evening with Tony Blair

On Monday evening, the Institute for Government and our guests were the first to hear Tony Blair’s reflections on his time in Number 10.

02 MAR 2010 Report


Our new report explores how behaviour change theory can help meet current policy challenges.