Reciprocity And The Art Of Behavioural Public Policy - Adam Oliver (Paperback)

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What motivates human behaviour? Drawing on literatures from anthropology to zoology, Oliver examines how we are motivated to give and take, rather than give or take. This book reviews the evolution of reciprocity as a motivator of behaviour, in terms of its observation in non-human species, in very young humans, and in societies that we can reasonably expect are similar to those in which our distant ancestors lived. The behavioural economic and social psychology literature that aims to discern when and in what circumstances reciprocity is likely to be observed and sustained is also reviewed, followed by a discussion on whether reciprocity is relevant to both the economic and the social domains. The dark sides of reciprocity are considered, before turning again to the light, and how the potentially beneficial effects of reciprocity might best be realised. This culminates in the presentation of a new political economy of behavioural public policy, with reciprocity playing a prominent role.

  • Provides a genuinely multidisciplinary analysis on the notion of reciprocity, drawing on philosophy, animal behaviouralism, psychology, political economy, behavioural economics, anthropology, sociology, public policy, and other areas
  • The book is written in an accessible style
  • Each chapter finishes with some 'food for thought' in the form of three questions, offering the reader guidance in how they may critically engage with the arguments presented in the chapters

Product Details

25 Jul 2019
Supply Source


Adam Oliver
Paperback / softback
Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages


General Subject
BIC Classification 1
Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography
BIC Classification 2
BIC Classification 3
Behavioural economics
BIC Classification 4
Political economy
Tertiary Education (US: College)

Author Bio

Oliver, Adam: - Adam Oliver is a behavioural economist and behavioural public policy analyst at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a founding Editor in Chief of the journals, Health Economics, Policy and Law and Behavioural Public Policy. He edited the book Behavioural Public Policy (Cambridge, 2013), and authored The Origins of Behavioural Public Policy (Cambridge, 2017).