Nudging with care: the risks and benefits of social information
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Nudges are popular types of interventions. Recent years have seen the rise of ‘norm-nudges’—nudges whose mechanism of action relies on social norms, eliciting or changing social expectations. Norm-nudges can be powerful interventions, but they can easily fail to be effective and can even backfire unless they are designed with care. We highlight important considerations when designing norm-nudges and discuss a general model of social behavior based on social expectations and conditional preferences. We present the results of several experiments wherein norm-nudging can backfire, and ways to avoid those negative outcomes.
KeywordsNorm-nudges Nudge Social information Social norms
JEL ClassificationB41 D01 D9
We would like to thank Syon Bhanot, Jon Jachimowicz, Arjun Khandelwal and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions.
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