What is behavioral public administration?
We describe behavioral public administration as the interdisciplinary analysis of public administration from the micro-level perspective of individual behavior and attitudes by drawing on recent advances in our understanding of the underlying psychology and behavior of individuals and groups. This definition has three main components: (1) individuals and groups of citizens, employees, and managers within the public sector are the unit of analysis; (2) it emphasizes the behavior and attitudes of these people; and, most importantly, (3) it does so by integrating insights from psychology and the behavioral sciences into the study of public administration.
See more: Grimmelikhuijsen, Stephan, Sebastian Jilke, Asmus Leth Olsen, Lars Tummers (2017). Behavioral Public Administration: Combining Insights from Public Administration and Psychology. Public Administration Review 77 (1): 45–56.
Tummers, L., Olsen, A. L., Jilke, S. Grimmelikhuijsen, S. (2016). Introduction to the Virtual Issue on Behavioral Public Administration. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Virtual Issue (3), 1-3.
Olsen, Asmus Leth (2015). "Simon Said," We Didn't Jump. Public Administration Review, 75 (2), 325–326.
ABSTRACT: Kenneth J. Meier recently argued in this journal that the field of public administration has failed to confront old criticisms formulated by Herbert Simon (Meier 2014). The year 2015 marks 60 years since Herbert Simon convincingly made the case for one such criticism: the absence of a “marking stone” to help connect current psychological research and public administration. Sadly, today the distance between research in psychology and in public administration seems greater than ever. Looking around in the top journals of public administration, one can easily detect the absence of psychological theories. At the same time, substantive questions in public administration are an infrequent topic for psychologists. By and large, we conduct our research in separate worlds.