Introduction: Frameworks for Behavioral Insights and Policy Making Column 1 by Hirokazu Tsuda


  • One of YBiT’s main activities is to introduce frameworks that were created by the world’s leading nudge units to staff of local governments in Japan. Serving as guides for policy making and execution, these frameworks can be broadly grouped into two types. [1]
  • The first is a checklist type that has systematically organized the characteristics of nudges. When designing a policy, if you check the items off one-by-one, you will be able to see if your project meets the criteria of nudges. The UK’s MINDSPACE[2] and EAST[3] are some examples of this checklist type.
Messengerwe are heavily influenced by who communicates information
Incentivesour responses to incentives are shaped by predictable mental shortcuts such as strongly avoiding losses
Normswe are strongly influenced by what others do
Defaultswe ‘go with the flow’ of pre-set options
Salienceour attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us
Primingour acts are often influenced by sub-conscious cues
Affectour emotional associations can powerfully shape our actions
Commitmentswe seek to be consistent with our public promises, and reciprocate acts
Egowe act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves

MINDSPACE Framework, Institute for Government

  • The second is a process-flow type which guides you through the traditional steps of identifying a policy issue and creating a strategic policy, before executing and evaluating the policy. Examples of such tools include OECD’s BASIC[4] and Toronto University’s “The Practitioner’s Guide to Nudging.” [5]
Practitioner’s Guide to Nudging, Rotman School’s Behavioural Economics in Action
  • Each framework has its own unique characteristics. The UK BIT’s EAST is a checklist framework with four nudge pillars: Easy, Attractive, Social, and Timely. Its simplicity makes it the easiest to use, with hundreds of thousands of practitioners all over the orld using this approach in policy making trainings offered by the UK BIT. YBiT also utilizes EAST in its monthly meetings and training sessions.
EAST Framework, UK Behavioural Insights Team
  • OECD’s BASIC, on the other hand, is the most comprehensive framework of behavioral insights. Its objective is to apply, where appropriate, insights from behavioral science to systematic analyses of policy issues. Steps include defining a problem and its scope, identifying suitable behavioral interventions, and evaluating their effectiveness.
  • Although local nudge units have been newly established in recent years, Japan lags behind internationally. The silver lining is that there are many lessons learnt and relevant resources available for Japanese newcomers. OECD(2017)[6] also mentions that  latecomers should try to replicate the efforts and successes of earlier nudge units.
  • When learning from world’s leading nudge units, their frameworks can serve as the best tools to guide our actions. Each framework has, however, both strengths and weaknesses to be acknowledged, and thus should be adapted to the user’s intentions and contexts.
  • Over the next columns, I will introduce the frameworks that YBiT use, mainly EAST, the Practitioner’s Guide to Nudging, and BASIC.

Hirokazu TSUDA(YBiT core member)

[1] Reference to Japan’s Nudge Unit categorization(

[2] Dolan, P et al. 2015. “MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy” (

[3] Owain et al. 2015. “EAST: Four simple ways to apply behavioural insights” (

[4] OECD,2019. “Tools and Ethics for Applied Behavioural Insights: The BASIC Toolkit”.(

[5] Kim Ly et al. 2013 “A Practitioner’s Guide to Nudging” (

[6] OECD. 2017. “Behavioural Insights and Public Policy Lessons from Around the World”(

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  1. ピンバック: 行動デザインのフレームワーク イントロ (コラム1:津田広和) – 横浜市行動デザインチーム