Nudging with care: the risks and benefits of social information

  • Cristina BicchieriEmail author
  • Eugen Dimant


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.


Norm-nudges Nudge Social information Social norms 

JEL Classification

B41 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Social Norms and Behavioral DynamicsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Wharton School of BusinessPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Identity and Conflict LabPhiladelphiaUSA

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