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Psychol Sci. 2017 Aug;28(8):1041-1055. doi: 10.1177/0956797617702501. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

Should Governments Invest More in Nudging?

Author information

1
1 Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles.
2
2 Harvard Business School, Harvard University.
3
3 The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
4
4 Harvard Law School, Harvard University.
5
5 Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.
6
6 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, DC.
7
7 ideas42, New York, NY.
8
8 United States Department of Defense, Washington, DC.

Abstract

Governments are increasingly adopting behavioral science techniques for changing individual behavior in pursuit of policy objectives. The types of "nudge" interventions that governments are now adopting alter people's decisions without coercion or significant changes to economic incentives. We calculated ratios of impact to cost for nudge interventions and for traditional policy tools, such as tax incentives and other financial inducements, and we found that nudge interventions often compare favorably with traditional interventions. We conclude that nudging is a valuable approach that should be used more often in conjunction with traditional policies, but more calculations are needed to determine the relative effectiveness of nudging.

KEYWORDS:

behavioral economics; behavioral science; choice architecture; college enrollment; education; electricity usage; energy; flu shot; influenza vaccination; nudge; nudge unit; open materials; pension plan; preventive health; savings

PMID:
28581899
PMCID:
PMC5549818
DOI:
10.1177/0956797617702501
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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