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METI Nudge Unit Inaugurated

Effort for introducing the latest knowledge in behavioral economics into METI policies

May 21, 2019

Aiming to improve the effects brought about by implementing its policies, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) inaugurated a METI Nudge Unit, a new internal project team for making use of a new policy approach based on behavioral economics, also known as “nudge.” In cooperation with experts, METI will design and promote specific nudge projects in certain fields, such as energy and measures for SMEs, placing the unit at the core of such activities.

1. Purpose of the inauguration

Since Dr. Richard H. Thaler, professor of the University of Chicago, the United States, won of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2017 global society has been paying closer attention to his nudge theory of behavioral economics. Governments, too, have been using nudge as a new policy approach and dramatically advancing the utilization of the theory.

Amidst this trend, METI has been conducting pioneering efforts for improving policy approaches by taking advantage of knowledge involving nudge, such as an initiative in which METI prepares and sends a report called the “Health Scoring Report” to companies and health insurance societies and encourages them to cooperate in managing the health of their employees.

Against this backdrop, METI inaugurated a new internal, cross-department project team called the “METI Nudge Unit.” This unit aims to promote the utilization of nudge in METI policy domains, ranging from social security to the environment and energy, as well as SME measures, a field in which only a few countries have yet engaged.

2. Missions that the unit should implement

The unit aims to promote the utilization of nudge and improve the effects brought about by implementing METI policies. To this end, the unit will tackle the following efforts:

  1. Provide consultation opportunities to respective departments of METI;
  2. Enhance and promote understanding of nudge among METI staff (awareness raising and provision of training);
  3. Convey information on effects brought about by METI’s implementation of its policies to people inside and outside METI;
  4. Establish relationships with authorities related to nudge inside and outside Japan and consolidate collaboration with them.

3. Organization of the unit

Director:

Assistants to the Director:

Members:

Reference: Overview of nudge

The term “nudge,” literally an act of pushing someone gently, is a new policy approach to providing people with a well-designed method or framework based not on economic incentives but on knowledge in behavioral science and motivating them to spontaneously choose more desirable actions. The United Kingdom and other overseas countries have been advancing policies taking advantage of nudge as initiatives led by a domestic organization called a “nudge unit.” More and more people are paying attention to nudge as a new policy approach with excellent cost-benefit performance.

Division in Charge

Budget and Accounts Division & Policy Evaluation and Public Relations Division, Minister’s Secretariat