Application of Behavioral Economics Insights to Increase Effectiveness of Public Awareness Campaigns

  • Anna BorawskaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


The traditional (neoclassical) economics assumes that every individual is egoistically oriented toward achieving their main goal (their own interest), which is to maximize utility. However, in many studies referring to various aspects of human behavior, behavioral economics proves that human choices vary depending on the circumstances, place, time, norms and social influences, emotional judgments, cognitive distortions and biases, simplifying reasoning principles applied (heuristics), and at the same time on how and in what circumstances the choice is made (the choice architecture). The objective of the article is to define the concepts of behavioral economics which are the most interesting from the point of view of increasing the effectiveness of public awareness campaigns. In order to determine which concepts of behavioral economics are the most interesting from the point of view of increasing the effectiveness of social campaigns, an analysis of the results of the systematic publication search in the Google Scholar database has been carried out. Literature overview has shown that the effectiveness of social campaigns can be increased by using the knowledge provided by behavioral economics on the subject of reflexive, unreflective, unwise, and fast cognitive processes carried out by individuals.


Public awareness campaigns Effectiveness Behavioral economics 



The project was financed with the National Science Centre funds allocated according to the decision DEC-2016/21/B/HS4/03036.


  1. 1.
    Abhyankar, P., O’connor, D.B., Lawton, R.: The role of message framing in promoting MMR vaccination: evidence of a loss-frame advantage. Psychol. Health Med. 13, 1–16 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Amadae, S.: Rational choice theory. In: Bevir, M. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Governance, pp. 785–791. Sage Publications (2007)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Andreasen, A.R.: A social marketing approach to changing mental health practices directed at youth and adolescents. Health Mark. Q. 21(4), 51–75 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bohner, G., Schlüter, L.E.: A room with a viewpoint revisited: descriptive norms and hotel guests’ towel reuse behavior. PLoS ONE 9(8), (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Camerer, C., Loewenstein, G.: Behavioral economics: past, present, future. In: Camerer, C., Loewenstein, G., Rabin, M. (eds.) Advances in Behavioral Economics, pp. 3–51. Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cho, H., Boster, F.J.: Effects of gain versus loss frame antidrug ads on adolescents. J. Commun. 58, 428–446 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Donovan, R., Henely, N.: Social Marketing: Principles and Practice. IP Communications (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fundacja Komunikacji Społecznej.: Definition of public awareness campaign. Accessed 23 Mar 2019 (2010)
  9. 9.
    Gehanno, J.F., Rollin, L., Darmoni, S.: Is the coverage of Google Scholar enough to be used alone for systematic reviews. BMC Med. Inform. Decis. Mak. 13(1), 7 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Heukelom, F.: Behavioral Economics: A History. Cambridge University Press (2014)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ho, T.H., Lim, N., Camerer, C.F.: Modeling the psychology of consumer and firm behavior with behavioral economics. J. Mark. Res. 43, 307–331 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kahneman, D., Tversky, A.: Prospect theory: an analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica XLVII, 263–291 (1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kotler, P., Lee, N.: Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good. SAGE Publications (2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kotler, P., Roberto, N., Lee, N.: Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life. SAGE (2002)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kotler, P., Zaltman, G.: Social marketing: an approach to planned social change. J. Market. 35, 3–12 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kullgren, J.T., Harkins, K.A., Bellamy, S.L., et al.: A mixed-methods randomized controlled trial of financial incentives and peer networks to promote walking among older adults. Health Edu. Behav. 41(1 Suppl), 43S–50S (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Latimer, A.E., Rench, T.A., Rivers, S.E., et al.: Promoting participation in physical activity using framed messages: an application of prospect theory. Br. J. Health. Psychol. 13(Pt 4), 659–681 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Low, D.: Cognition, choice and policy design. In: Low, D. (ed.) Behavioural Economics and Policy Design: Examples from Singapore, pp. 1–13. World Scientific Publishing Company (2011)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mays, D., Turner, M.M., Zhao, X., et al.: Framing pictorial cigarette warning labels to motivate young smokers to quit. Nicotine Tob. Res. 17(7), 769–775 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Morrill, B.A., Madden, G.J., Wengreen, H.J., et al.: A randomized controlled trial of the Food Dudes Program: tangible rewards are more effective than social rewards for increasing short-and long-term fruit and vegetable consumption. J. Acad. Nutr. Dietetics 116(4), 618–629 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mullainathan, S., Thaler, R.H.: Behavioral economics No. w7948. National Bureau of Economic Research (2000)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Perkins, H.W., Linkenbach, J., Lewis, M., et al.: Effectiveness of social norms media marketing in reducing drinking and driving: a statewide campaign. Addict. Behav. 35, 866–874 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Robinson, E., Fleming, A., Higgs, S.: Prompting healthier eating: testing the use of health and social norm based messages. Health Psychol. 33(9), 1057 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Simon, H.A.: A behavioral model of rational choice. Q. J. Econ. 69(1), 99–118 (1955)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Steier, G., Steier, L.: Textbox: the hierarchy of scientific evidence. In: International Food Law and Policy, pp. 319–320. Springer (2016)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Thaler, R.H., Sunstein, C.: Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness. Yales University Press, New Haven, CT (2008)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Thesis, M., Andrews, M.: Social Campaigns, Art of Visual Persuasion Its Psychology, Its Semiotics, Its Rhetoric. Accessed 23 Mar 2019 (2008)
  28. 28.
    Thøgersen, J.: Promoting public transport as a subscription service: effects of a free month travel card. Transp. Policy 16, 335–343 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Toy, S., Tapp, A., Musselwhite, C., et al.: Can social marketing make 20 mph the new norm? J. Trans. Health 1, 165–173 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tversky, A., Kahneman, D.: Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and biases. Science 185(4157), 1124–1131 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Varcoe, J.: Assessing the effectiveness of social marketing. Accessed 23 Mar 2019 (2004)
  32. 32.
    Volpp, K.G., Troxel, A.B., Pauly, M.V., et al.: A randomized, controlled trial of financial incentives for smoking cessation. N. Engl. J. Med. 360(7), 699–709 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Volpp, K.G., John, L.K., Troxel, A.B., et al.: Financial incentive-based approaches for weight loss. A randomized trial. JAMA 300(22), 2631–2637 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Wilkinson, N., Klaes, M.: An Introduction to Behavioral Economics. Macmillan International Higher Education (2017)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wymer, W.: Developing more effective social marketing strategies. J. Soc. Market. 1(1), 17–31 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and ManagementUniversity of SzczecinSzczecinPoland

Personalised recommendations