Using behavioural economic and social psychological research to inform collaborative public policy development process design

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University of New Brunswick


Particularly when contemplating complex social issues, such as poverty reduction, many Canadian provinces are moving towards a paradigm where a diverse group of people collaborate to develop public policy. This thesis compares the group dynamics and design of a particular policy development initiative to insights from behavioural economic and social psychological research regarding three main elements of collaboration. These elements are cooperation, conflict, and diversity. Interviews with participants of Phase II of New Brunswick's Bringing the Pieces Together (BPT), a multi-sector policy development collaboration, are analyzed to develop a model of group dynamics. Analysis also reveals how particular design elements impacted the collaboration. Recommendations for the design of future collaborative policy development processes are generated from a comparison of insights from behavioural economics and social psychology to the model of group dynamics and analysis of process design elements.