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


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.


Nudges Regulation Environment Ethics 



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


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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

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