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Public Views on Policies Involving Nudges
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (JEDlLab)
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (JEDIlab)
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Decision Research, Eugene, USA. (JEDlLab)
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economics. Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Health Care Analysis. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (JEDILab)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8159-1249
2015 (English)In: Review of Philosophy and Psychology, ISSN 1878-5158, E-ISSN 1878-5166, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 439-453Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When should nudging be deemed as permissible and when should it be deemed as intrusive to individuals’ freedom of choice? Should all types of nudges be judged the same? To date the debate concerning these issues has largely proceeded without much input from the general public. The main objective of this study is to elicit public views on the use of nudges in policy. In particular we investigate attitudes toward two broad categories of nudges that we label pro-self (i.e. focusing on private welfare) and pro-social (i.e. focusing on social welfare) nudges. In addition we explore how individual differences in thinking and feeling influence attitudes toward nudges. General population samples in Sweden and the United States (n=952) were presented with vignettes describing nudge-policies and rated acceptability and intrusiveness on freedom of choice. To test for individual differences, measures on cultural cognition and analytical thinking were included. Results show that the level of acceptance toward nudge-policies was generally high in both countries, but were slightly higher among Swedes than Americans. Somewhat paradoxically a majority of the respondents also perceived the presented nudge-policies as intrusive to freedom of choice. Nudge- polices classified as pro-social had a significantly lower acceptance rate compared to pro-self nudges (p<.0001). Individuals with a more individualistic worldview were less likely to perceive nudges as acceptable, while individuals more prone to analytical thinking were less likely to perceive nudges as intrusive to freedom of choice. To conclude, our findings suggest that the notion of “one-nudge- fits-all” is not tenable. Recognizing this is an important aspect both for successfully implementing nudges as well as nuancing nudge theory. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 6, no 3, p. 439-453
Keywords [en]
Nudge; Libertarian Paternalism; Acceptability; Autonomi
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119071DOI: 10.1007/s13164-015-0263-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-119071DiVA, id: diva2:818442
Projects
NeuroekonomiAvailable from: 2015-06-08 Created: 2015-06-08 Last updated: 2018-11-22
In thesis
1. Deciding Fast and Slow: How Intuitive and Reflective Thinking Influence Decision Making
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Deciding Fast and Slow: How Intuitive and Reflective Thinking Influence Decision Making
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Paper I “Intuition and cooperation reconsidered”: Does intuition make people more cooperative? Rand et al. (Rand, Greene, & Nowak, 2012) reported increased cooperation in social dilemmas after forcing individuals to decide quickly. We test the robustness of this finding in a series of five experiments involving about 2,500 subjects in three countries. None of the experiments confirms the Rand et al. (2012) finding, indicating that their result was an artefact of excluding about 50% of the subjects who failed to respond on time.

Paper II “Intuition and moral decision-making – the effect of time pressure and cognitive load on moral judgment and altruistic behavior”: Do individuals intuitively favor certain moral actions over others? This study explores the role of intuitive thinking — induced by time pressure and cognitive load — in moral judgment and behavior. Overall we find converging evidence that intuitive states do not influence moral decisions. Across all samples and decision tasks men were more likely to make utilitarian moral judgments and act selfishly compared to women, providing further evidence that there are robust gender differences in moral decision-making.

Paper III “Public views on policies involving nudges”: When should nudging be deemed as permissible and when should it be deemed as intrusive to individuals’ freedom of choice? The main objective of this study is to elicit public views on the use of nudges in policy. In particular we investigate attitudes toward two broad categories of nudges that we label pro-self (i.e. focusing on private welfare) and pro-social (i.e. focusing on social welfare) nudges. Results show that the level of acceptance toward nudge-policies was generally high. Nudge polices classified as pro-social had a significantly lower acceptance rate compared to pro-self nudges.

Paper IV “The effect of fast and slow decisions on financial risk-taking”: Are individuals financial risk taking influenced by time available? We experimentally compare fast and slow decisions in a series of experiments on financial risk taking in three countries involving over 1,700 subjects. We find that time pressure increases risk aversion for gains and risk taking for losses compared to time delay; implying that time pressure increase the reflection effect of Prospect Theory.

Paper V “Incidental effect and financial risk-taking – a neural investigation: This study builds on the results from Paper IV. Here I explore the influence of incidental negative emotions on financial risk-taking in an fMRI environment in order to assess underlying neural mechanisms. I experimentally compare neutral and unpleasant valence framing on gambles involving pure monetary gain and pure monetary loss. I find a significantly increased BOLD response in left amygdala and bilateral visual cortex when contrasting when showing unpleasant pictures, a neural effect which is in line with previous neuroimaging studies on negative emotions. However the neural effect of showing unpleasant pictures did not affect choices in the risk tasks. Consequently, I did not find any support for the hypothesis that the reflection effect of Prospect theory should be more pronounced when making risky choices influenced by incidental negative emotions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. p. 13
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 698
Keywords
Dual-process Theory, Experimental economics, Intuition, Reflection, Emotion, Time pressure, Nudge
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-131753 (URN)9789176856680 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-03, ACAS, Entrance 17, Building A, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Ragnar Söderberg foundation has funding this Ph.D. thesis.

Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-10-03 Last updated: 2016-10-06Bibliographically approved
2. When are nudges acceptable?: Influences of beneficiaries, techniques, alternatives and choice architects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When are nudges acceptable?: Influences of beneficiaries, techniques, alternatives and choice architects
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
När är nudges acceptabla? : Påverkan av mottagare, teknik, alternativ och beslutsarkitekter
Abstract [en]

Interventions aimed to change behavior (so called nudges) are becoming more and more popular among policymakers. However, in order to be able to effectively use nudges, it is important to understand when and why people find them acceptable. The objective of this thesis is therefore to improve the understanding of when nudges are judged to be acceptable. The thesis focuses on a model for behavioral change. The model contains two parts, nudge technique and acceptance of nudges. Nudge technique refers to how the nudge is designed to function in regard to psychological mechanism and functionality.

The nudge technique part of the model is expanded and problematized from an ethical perspective in the first part of this thesis, by exemplifying psychological mechanisms behind different techniques and explaining why they might be intrusive to individuals’ freedom of choice. In the second part of this thesis it is discussed why acceptance is an important component of making nudging legitimate and effective. This is followed by a discussion of how acceptance is empirically measured. The empirical part of the thesis is based on four papers which all use a quantitative online survey approach to study the judgements of nudges from the general public.

Paper 1 was a first attempt to measure whether nudges which are common in the nudge literature are acceptable interventions according to the general public. We found that the nudges that were categorized as pro-self were more likely to be rated as acceptable and less likely to be perceived as intrusive to freedom of choice compared to pro-social nudges. Furthermore, the effect of decision styles and worldview on acceptance was explored. In paper 2, we explored whether the difference between acceptance found for pro-social nudges and proself nudges could be increased by framing nudges as beneficial for society or individuals. The framing had no effect on acceptance but, as in paper 1, pro-social nudges were found to be more intrusive to freedom of choice compared to pro-self framed nudges. Moreover, different nudge techniques had different rates of acceptance even with the same explicit goal for the nudges. In paper 3, we examined whether the alternative to nudges affects the perceived acceptability and intrusiveness of default-changing nudge techniques. The alternatives given to the nudges were either to enforce the intended behavioral change with legislation or to do nothing at all in order to change the behavior. We find no difference in aggregated acceptance, however, the judgements vary depending on individuals’ worldview. Paper 4 explored if the choice architect’s (the creator/proposer of the nudge) political affiliation affects acceptance rating for proposed nudge interventions and legislation. We find that acceptance of both nudges and legislation increases with the level of matching between people’s political orientation and the choice architect’s political affiliation.

Taken together, the findings suggest that there is more to creating an acceptable nudge than to merely take a nudge technique that was acceptable in one context and apply it in another. Moreover, nudges that are rated as more beneficial towards individuals compared to society at large are in general more likely to be found acceptable and less intrusive to freedom of choice. It is important to have knowledge about the target population (e.g. their decision styles, world-views, and political orientation) to avoid backfires when implementing nudges.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. p. 69
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 759Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 213
National Category
Work Sciences Applied Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152788 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-152788 (DOI)9789176851609 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-14, I101, I-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-22 Created: 2018-11-22 Last updated: 2018-11-27Bibliographically approved

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Hagman, WilliamAndersson, DavidVästfjäll, DanielTinghög, Gustav

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