David Halpern is the chief executive of the United Kingdom's Behavioural Insight Team, widely known as the "Nudge Unit" and has also recently been appointed the UK National What Works Adviser. He is a senior fellow (and founding director) at London’s Institute of Government.
Halpern previously worked as chief analyst in the UK Prime Minister's Strategy Unit (2001–2007). He led numerous reviews, including the UK Government's Strategic Audits and recent Policy Reviews; set up the Social Exclusion Task Force and drafted its Action Plan; and authored many of the Strategy Unit's most influential papers, such as on life satisfaction, personal responsibility, and behaviour change.
Before entering government Halpern was a well known academic. He held tenure at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge University, where he still remains an affiliated lecturer. He has also held posts at Nuffield College, Oxford; the Policy Studies Institute, London; and as a visiting professor at the Centre for European Studies, Harvard. He has published widely including the books Hidden Wealth of Nations (2009), Social Capital (2005), Options for Britain: A Strategic Policy Review (1996), Options for a New Britain (2009), and Mental Health and the Built Environment (1995).