Easy Ways to Fix Government

Behavioral science can boost organ donation, diversify the police and get people to pay their taxes.

Increasing police force diversity.

Photographer: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

In 2010, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron began an experiment that he knew might not succeed. He created a new office, the Behavioural Insights Team, which would try to apply new understandings of human behavior to the work of agencies throughout government -- with the goal of saving 10 times as much money as the project cost. If BIT failed, it would be shut down within two years. (Disclosure: I have consulted with BIT on occasion, and the office itself now plans to work with Bloomberg Philanthropies on a project involving midsize U.S. cities.) 

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