Better Regulation in Austria - phase II

Project Lead: Florian Spitzer
Team: Kira Abstiens, Katharina Gangl, Kerstin Grosch, Anna Walter, Raphael Gottweis, Michael Keinprecht, Teresa Hübel, Teresa Koch, Patricia Stehl
Duration: September 2020 – March 2022
Funding: Europäische Kommission, DG Reform

The aim of this project is to promote the integration of scientific findings, procedures and tools into Austrian policy-making to strengthen an evidence-based, and thus even more effective administration. In a transdisciplinary process between several Austrian ministries (BMKÖS, BMF, BKA) and scientific institutions in Austria (University for Continuing Education Krems, Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Vienna) requirements were defined and tools developed in a demand-driven approach. The project consisted of three components. In the first part, agent-based models were developed to simulate the effects of certain policy measures prior to actual implementation. The second part of the project aimed at laying the foundations for a successful application of behavioural insights to public policy in Austria by offering workshops for public officials. The third part of the project developed a visual management dashboard for high-level public officials that summarizes the most important aspects of relevant evidence in an actionable way.

IHS acted as consortial leader and was responsible for the financial and technical administration of the project and together with the BMKÖS for the overall project coordination. Moreover, the IHS delivered the part of the project concerned with the application of behavioural insights to public policy in Austria. We delivered a best-practice review regarding the organisational implementation of behavioural insights in other countries and in international organisations. This review included insights how other countries and administrations use educational offers to promote the application of behavioural insights in their organisations as well as specific recommendations for Austria. In a next step, we developed a workshop concept on how to train public officials in understanding, considering and applying behavioural insights to their work. We conducted in total nine workshops in six ministries featuring behavioural solutions for a broad range of policy problems. The aim of the workshop was to provide participants with basic knowledge of the behavioural sciences as well as with their application possibilities in practice. In small groups policy problems of the participants were discussed and behavioural solutions developed. As a last step, we formulated a long-term implementation strategy to ensure the successful continuation of the project, in particular by offering the workshops in the educational institutions of the Austrian public administration.