Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 427–437 | Cite as

The Institutional Consequences of Nudging – Nudges, Politics, and the Law

  • Robert LepeniesEmail author
  • Magdalena Małecka


In this article we argue that a widespread adoption of nudging can alter legal and political institutions. Debates on nudges thus far have largely revolved around a set of philosophical theories that we call individualistic approaches. Our analysis concerns the ways in which adherents of nudging make use of the newest findings in the behavioral sciences for the purposes of policy-making. We emphasize the fact that most nudges proposed so far are not a part of the legal system and are also non-normative. We propose two ideal types: “law-as-normative” and “law-as-instrumental”, that allow us to understand and evaluate the relation of nudges and the law. We stress the importance of law as a safeguard for the possible negative consequences of nudges and conclude with proposals that could complement nudging policies.


Legal System Policy Instrument Behavioral Science Political Institution Ideal Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the editors for their valuable and helpful comments. The authors furthermore thank Konstantin Baehrens, Richard Bellamy, Juliana Bidadanure, Hent Kalmo, Shmuel Nili, Claus Offe, Dennis Patterson, Eva Tscherner, and their colleagues at the EUI’s Max Weber Programme. Dr. Małecka’s work has been funded by the National Centre for Science (NCN), individual research project no. DEC-2012/07/N/HS1/01560

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European University InstituteFiesoleItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences & European University InstituteFiesoleItaly

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