Public Views on Policies Involving Nudges
2015 (English)In: Review of Philosophy and Psychology, ISSN 1878-5158Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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
Nudge; Libertarian Paternalism; Acceptability; Autonomi
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119071DOI: 10.1007/s13164-015-0263-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-119071DiVA: diva2:818442