King's College London

Research portal

Behavioural insight and the labour market: Evidence from a pilot study and a large stepped-wedge controlled trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Michael Sanders, Guglielmo Briscese, Rory Gallagher, Alex Gyani, Samuel Hanes, Elspeth Kirkman, Owain Service

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal Of Public Policy
Published27 Aug 2019

King's Authors


In this article, we describe two experiments measuring the impact of a collection of interventions informed by behavioural sciences to reduce unemployment. In a small-scale pilot study (n = 2,383) run in partnership with a Jobcentre in the UK, we found that small changes to the way jobseekers interacted with employment advisers showed promising effects. Based on these findings, we refined our intervention and tested it in a second, larger trial (n = 88,033) across 12 Jobcentres in the UK. We found that our intervention significantly increased off-flow from benefits. These experiments demonstrate that policies and programmes aimed at reducing unemployment can benefit greatly from a deeper understanding of the behaviours of jobseekers and employment advisers. Further, we suggest that this approach could have positive implications for other areas of public policy.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454