Lucia Savadori

Nudge: Opportunity or transitory fashion?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Nudge, nudging, behavioral sciences, decision making, behavioral economics.

Nudge is a technique for building policies aimed at modifying human behavior without coercion and without economic incentives that aims at improving human choices, making people happier and more capable of getting what they want. Nudging techniques are having a resounding success worldwide especially in the public administration but also within private companies. However, such a rapid increase in popularity must make us think, especially in the face of the fact that the psychological mechanisms that make (or don’t make) a nudge work are not always known. Sometimes, a nudge is not even distinguishable from a simple intervention of interior design. The fear expressed in this article is that nudge is just a trend that many join only to take advantage of its upward current. To verify or contradict this thesis, I review several nudges, examining the psychological mechanisms that underlie each one. The conclusion is that many nudges actually make a unique and original contribution to behavioral sciences, but not all of them. It is hoped that more experimental studies will address this issue to clarify when a nudge is a nudge. The risk is that the nudge will be overwhelmed by a rapid drop in popularity and credibility as happens when a trend passes.

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