This audit would examine the impact and cost-effectiveness of programs initiated by the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA).

BETA is a joint initiative across government and includes a number of different departments and agencies. Based in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the team works on a number of projects using insights from behavioural economics to help improve policy outcomes. Behavioural economics is a field of economics research that attempts to explain human decision-making by combining psychological and sociological insights with microeconomic theory. In 2017–18, BETA received $12.3 million from the $500 million Public Service Modernisation Fund.

The audit would examine BETA’s effectiveness in working with government departments and agencies, including case studies of the use of behavioural economics to develop and implement policy outcomes. The audit would evaluate the scope of work undertaken by BETA since its establishment in 2015, and assess its estimated rate of return in comparison to other bodies such as the United Kingdom’s Behavioural Insights Team, which was set an initial target of a tenfold return on investment. The audit may include entities that have partnered with BETA, such as the Department of Health and the Australian Taxation Office.