Advertisement

Mind & Society

, Volume 17, Issue 1–2, pp 27–38 | Cite as

Designing effective nudges that satisfy ethical constraints: the case of environmentally responsible behaviour

  • Denis HiltonEmail author
  • Nicolas Treich
  • Gaetan Lazzara
  • Philippe Tendil
Article

Abstract

We discuss what makes a “good” environmental nudge from the policy maker’s point of view. We first delineate what is paternalistic about environmental nudges. We then discuss the effectiveness of nudges, including their paradoxical effects on the targeted behaviour, as well as possible collateral effects on the decision-maker’s wellbeing. We also discuss why the libertarian and ethical aspect of nudges may render them more, and not less, attractive as policy instruments and decision aids. We conclude by discussing accuracy and privacy concerns of information-based nudges, and with some recommendations for the design of effective and ethical nudges.

Keywords

Nudges Regulation Environment Ethics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The first two authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (Grant ANR-2010-CEPL-009-02).

References

  1. Allcott H (2011) Social norms and energy conservation. J Public Econ 95:1082–1095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allcott H, Mullainathan S (2010) Behaviour and energy policy. Science 327:1204–1205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allcott H, Rogers T (2014) The short-run and long-run effects of behavioural interventions: experimental evidence from energy conservation. Am Econ Rev 104:3003–3037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baca-Motes K, Brown A, Gneezy A, Keenan EA, Nelson LD (2012) Commitment and behavior change: evidence from the field. J Consum Res 39(5):1070–1084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker LJ (1978) Joint effect of feedback and goal setting on performance: a field study of residential energy conservation. J Appl Psychol 63(4):428–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bolderdijk JW, Steg L, Geller ES, Lehman PK, Postmes T (2013) Comparing the effectiveness of monetary versus moral motives in environmental campaigning. Nat Clim Change 3:413–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Choi J, Laibson D, Madrian C (2004) Plan design and 401(k) savings outcomes. Natl Tax J 57:275–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Costa DL, Kahn ME (2013) Energy conservation “nudges” and environmentalist ideology: evidence from a randomized residential electricity field experiment. J Eur Econ Assoc 11:680–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Croson R, Treich N (2014) Behavioural environmental economics: promises and challenges. Environ Resour Econ 58:335–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Demarque C, Charalambides L, Hilton DJ, Waroquier L (2015) Nudging sustainable consumption: the use of descriptive norms to promote a minority behavior in a realistic online shopping environment. J Environ Psychol 43:166–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dickerson CA, Thobodeau R, Aronson E, Miller D (1992) Using cognitive dissonance to encourage water conservation. J Appl Soc Psychol 22:841–854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ebeling F, Lotz S (2015) Domestic uptake of green energy promoted by opt-out tariffs. Nat Clim Change 5(9):868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ferraro PJ, Price MK (2013) Using non-pecuniary strategies to influence behavior: evidence from a large-scale field experiment. Rev Econ Stat 95:64–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ferraro PJ, Miranda JJ, Price MK (2011) The persistence of treatment effects with norm-based policy instruments: evidence from a randomized environmental policy experiment. Am Econ Rev Pap Proc 101:318–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldstein N, Cialdini R, Griskevicius V (2008) A room with a viewpoint: using social norms to motivate environmental conservation in hotels. J Consum Res 35:472–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Halpern D (2016) Inside the nudge unit: how small changes can make a big difference. Penguin Random House, New York CityGoogle Scholar
  17. Janis IL, Feshbach S (1953) The effect of fear-arousing communications. J Soc Abnorm Psychol 48:78–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnson E, Goldstein D (2003) Do defaults save lives? Science 302:1338–1339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kallbekken S, Saelen H (2013) Nudging hotel guests to reduce food wastes as a win–win environmental measure. Econ Lett 119:325–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kantola SJ, Syme GJ, Campbell NA (1984) Cognitive dissonance and energy conservation. J Appl Psychol 69(3):416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Locke EA, Latham GP (2002) Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: a 35-year odyssey. Am Psychol 57:705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Madrian B, Shea D (2001) The power of suggestion: inertia in 401(k) participation and savings behaviour. Q J Econ 116:1149–1187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McGuire WJ (1969) The nature of attitudes and attitude change. In: Lindzey G, Aronson E (eds) The handbook of social psychology, vol 3, 2nd edn. Addison-Wesley, Massachusetts, pp 136–314Google Scholar
  24. Nolan JM, Schultz PW, Cialdini RB, Goldstein NJ, Griskevicius V (2008) Normative social influence is underdetected. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 34:913–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Panzone L (2014) Substitutability of behaviours and compliance to environmental public policy: How many gestures consumers have to make to feel sustainable? Unpublished paper, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  26. Peltzman S (1975) The effects of automobile safety regulation. J Polit Econ 83:677–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pichert D, Katsikopoulosa K (2008) Green defaults: information presentation and pro-environmental behaviour. J Environ Psychol 28:63–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sale L (2012) Higher or lower? Carbon footprint as consumer guesswork. Working paper, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  29. Schultz PW, Nolan JM, Cialdini RB, Goldstein NJ, Griskevicius V (2007) The constructive, destructive, and reconstructive power of social norms. Psychol Sci 18:429–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schultz PW, Khazian AM, Zaleski AC (2008) Using social normative influence to promote conservation among hotel guests. Soc Influ 3:4–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sunstein CR (2014) Valuing life: humanizing the regulatory state. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  32. Sunstein CR, Reisch LA (2014) Automatically green: behavioural economics and environmental protection. Harv Environ Law Rev 38(1):127–158Google Scholar
  33. Thaler RH, Sunstein CR (2008) Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness. Penguin Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Wallenborn G (2015) Les compteurs communicants et leurs (non)usagers. To appear in M-C Zélem, Beslay C. La Sociologie de l’Energie. Gouvernance de l’Action Publique, Pratiques Sociales et Outils du Changement, Paris, Ed CNRS. Collection AlphaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Hilton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicolas Treich
    • 2
  • Gaetan Lazzara
    • 4
  • Philippe Tendil
    • 3
  1. 1.U.F.R. de Psychologie, Université de Toulouse-IIUniversity of ToulouseToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Toulouse School of Economics, INRAUniversity of ToulouseToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Habitat Marseille ProvenceAix-Marseille Provence MétropoleMarseilleFrance
  4. 4.Conseil Economique, Social et Environnemental (CESER) Sud Paca RegionMarseille Cedex 02France

Personalised recommendations