Meet the IIU’s Behavioural Science Fellow: Wook Yang

Why do you believe government departments should embrace the application of experimentation and Behavioural Science?

There is a growing emphasis on research-informed policy and program development for governmental organizations. The application of experimentation and behavioural science offers a unique opportunity to implement evidence-based approaches into practice in order to formulate an efficient set of policies that can subsequently promote positive outcomes. Government departments that support successive cycles of experimentation and the integration of behavioural science can gain a deeper understanding of how individuals and populations will respond to policies and programs. Therefore, a commitment to embracing the application of behavioural science can lead to far-reaching impacts on community improvements.

In what way(s) do you believe the practice of Behavioural Science in government can drive more effective policy outcomes?

From conceptualization to the implementation of a particular policy, behavioural science provides valuable insights at every stage of decision making. During the initial development stage, information on successful policies and behavioural research studies can be gathered to build a strong foundation. Pilot projects can be facilitated to observe how the proposed policy looks like in a small population. By observing how people’s behavior changes (or does not change), the proposed policy can be revised before being scaled up. Even after a policy rolls out to the public, behavioural science is a critical component to integrate into the monitoring and evaluation of the new policy. Essentially, behavioural science can be used as a key tool to help organizations to visualize potential outcomes and examine the effectiveness of existing and new policies.

What attracted you to apply to the Fellowship program?

After completing my studies in psychology, I decided to pursue a doctorate in public health because it was important for me to apply my learnings to bring about positive change for vulnerable communities through public policy. As such, I saw the Fellowship program as the perfect opportunity to enrich my skillset through incorporating key behavioural insights in various government projects. I am incredibly excited to partake in the abundance of innovative projects and learn from other fellows with different expertise in the Fellowship program.