Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Are ‘nudges’ getting a fair shot? Joint versus separate evaluation

  • SHAI DAVIDAI (a1) and ELDAR SHAFIR (a2)

Abstract

The most effective behavioral policies are often also the most contentious. Psychologically informed interventions that promote non-deliberative behaviors (‘nudges’) are often more effective than ‘traditional’ policies (like informational and educational campaigns) that target more deliberative processes. Yet, precisely because of their deliberative nature, people are often said to prefer the latter over the former. In contrast, we provide evidence that people's preferences regarding nudges are malleable and influenced by the method of evaluation – whether the policy alternatives are evaluated separately or jointly. We show that while people exhibit a strong preference for more traditional public policies in joint evaluation, this preference is significantly attenuated in separate evaluation. We find that people perceive nudges as less paternalistic when judged on their own merits, that they are more likely to endorse nudges in separate than in joint evaluation, and that, provided with relative effectiveness information, people are willing to endorse nudges even in joint evaluation. We discuss the implications of these findings for researchers, policy-makers, and the general public.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Are ‘nudges’ getting a fair shot? Joint versus separate evaluation
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Are ‘nudges’ getting a fair shot? Joint versus separate evaluation
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Are ‘nudges’ getting a fair shot? Joint versus separate evaluation
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Correspondence to: The New School for Social Research, 80 5th Ave, Room 708, New York, NY 10011, USA. Email: shaidavidai@newschool.edu

References

Hide All
Allcott, H. and Rogers, T. (2014), ‘The short-run and long-run effects of behavioral interventions: Experimental evidence from energy conservation’, The American Economic Review, 104(10): 30033037.
Arad, A. and Rubinstein, A. (2018), The People's Perspective on Libertarian-Paternalistic Policies. Unpublished manuscript.
Bazerman, M. H., Moore, D. A., Tenbrunsel, A. E., Wade-Benzoni, K. A. and Blount, S. (1999), ‘Explaining how preferences change across joint versus separate evaluation’, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 39(1): 4158.
Benartzi, S., Beshears, J., Milkman, K. L., Sunstein, C. R., Thaler, R. H., Shankar, M., Tucker-Ray, W., Congdon, W. J. and Galing, S. (2017), ‘Should governments invest more in nudging?Psychological Science, DOI: 10.1177/0956797617702501.
Benartzi, S. and Thaler, R. H. (1999), ‘Risk aversion or myopia? Choices in repeated gambles and retirement investments’, Management Science, 45(3): 364381.
Bryan, C. J., Walton, G. M., Rogers, T. and Dweck, C. S. (2011), ‘Motivating voter turnout by invoking the self’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(31): 1265312656.
Chow, R. M. and Galak, J. (2012), ‘The effect of inequality frames on support for redistributive tax policies’, Psychological Science, 23(12): 14671469.
Cornwell, J. F. and Krantz, D. H. (2014), ‘Public policy for thee, but not for me: Varying the grammatical person of public policy justifications influences their support’, Judgment and Decision Making, 9(5): 433444.
Damgaard, M. T. and Gravert, C. (2017), ‘Now or never! The effect of deadlines on charitable giving: Evidence from two natural field experiments’, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 66, 7887.
Danziger, S., Levav, J. and Avnaim-Pesso, L. (2011), ‘Extraneous factors in judicial decisions’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(17): 68896892.
Davidai, S. and Gilovich, T. (2018), How should we think about Americans’ beliefs about economic mobility? Manuscript accepted for publication.
Davidai, S. and Gilovich, T. (2015), ‘Building a more mobile America—One income quintile at a time’, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(1): 6071.
Davidai, S., Gilovich, T. and Ross, L. D. (2012), ‘The meaning of default options for potential organ donors’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(38): 1520115205.
Dayan, E. and Bar-Hillel, M. (2011), ‘Nudge to nobesity II: Menu positions influence food orders’, Judgment and Decision Making, 6(4): 333342.
Dunt, I. (2014), Nudge nudge, say no more: Brits’ minds will be controlled without us knowing it. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/05/nudge-say-no-more-behavioural-insights-team.
Felsen, G., Castelo, N. and Reiner, P. B. (2013), ‘Decisional enhancement and autonomy: public attitudes towards overt and covert nudges’, Judgment and Decision Making, 8(3): 202213.
Grüne-Yanoff, T. and Hertwig, R. (2016), ‘Nudge versus boost: How coherent are policy and theory?’, Minds and Machines, 26(1–2): 149183.
Goldstein, N. J., Cialdini, R. B. and Griskevicius, V. (2008), ‘A room with a viewpoint: Using social norms to motivate environmental conservation in hotels’, Journal of Consumer Research, 35(3): 472482.
Hagman, W., Andersson, D., Västfjäll, D. and Tinghög, G. (2015), ‘Public views on policies involving nudges’, Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 6(3): 439453.
Hertwig, R. and Grüne-Yanoff, T. (2017), ‘Nudging and Boosting: Steering or Empowering Good Decisions’, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 114.
Hsee, C. K. (1996), ‘The evaluability hypothesis: An explanation for preference reversals between joint and separate evaluations of alternatives’, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 67(3): 247257.
Hsee, C. K. (1998), ‘Less is better: When low-value options are valued more highly than high-value options’, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 11, 107121.
Hsee, C. K., Loewenstein, G. F., Blount, S. and Bazerman, M. H. (1999), ‘Preference reversals between joint and separate evaluations of options: A review and theoretical analysis’, Psychological Bulletin, 125(5): 576590.
Hsee, C. K. and Zhang, J. (2004), ‘Distinction bias: Misprediction and mischoice due to joint evaluation’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(5): 680695.
Irwin, J. R., Slovic, P., Lichtenstein, S. and McClelland, G. H. (1993), ‘Preference reversals and the measurement of environmental values’, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 6(1): 518.
Jachimowicz, J. M., Duncan, S., Weber, E. U. and Johnson, E. J. (2018), When and Why Defaults Influence Decisions: A Meta-Analysis of Default Effects. Unpublished manuscript.
Johnson, E. J. and Goldstein, D. (2003), ‘Do defaults save lives?’, Science, 302(5649): 13381339.
Jung, J. Y. and Mellers, B. (2016), ‘American attitudes toward nudges’, Judgment and Decision Making, 11(1): 6274.
Kahneman, D. (2011), Thinking, fast and slow, New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Kahneman, D. and Miller, D. T. (1986), ‘Norm theory: Comparing reality to its alternatives’, Psychological Review, 93(2): 136153.
Kahneman, D. and Ritov, I. (1994), ‘Determinants of stated willingness to pay for public goods: A study in the headline method’, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 9(1): 537.
Kahneman, D., Ritov, I. and Schkade, D. A. (1999), ‘Economic preferences or attitude expressions? An analysis of dollar responses to public issues’, Journal of Risk Uncertainty, 19, 203235.
Loewenstein, G., Bryce, C., Hagmann, D. and Rajpal, S. (2015), ‘Warning: You are about to be nudged’, Behavioral Science & Policy, 1(1): 3542.
Milkman, K. L., Beshears, J., Choi, J. J., Laibson, D. and Madrian, B. C. (2011), ‘Using implementation intentions prompts to enhance influenza vaccination rates’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(26): 1041510420.
Nickerson, D. W. and Rogers, T. (2010), ‘Do you have a voting plan? Implementation intentions, voter turnout, and organic plan making’, Psychological Science, 21(2): 194199.
Office of the Press Secretary, (2015), Executive order – Using behavioral science insights to better serve the American people. Retrieved on December 28th, 2016 from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/15/executive-order-using-behavioral-science-insights-better-serve-american.
Reisch, L. A. and Sunstein, C. R. (2016), ‘Do Europeans like nudges?’, Judgment and Decision Making 11(4): 310325.
Rozin, P., Scott, S., Dingley, M., Urbanek, J. K., Jiang, H. and Kaltenbach, M. (2011), ‘Nudge to nobesity I: Minor changes in accessibility decrease food intake’, Judgment and Decision Making, 6(4): 323332.
Shafir, E. (1999), ‘Philosophical intuitions and cognitive mechanisms’, in DePaul, M. R. and Ramsey, W.M. (eds.), Rethinking intuition: The psychology of intuition and its role in philosophical inquiry, Lanham, MD, US: Rowman & Littlefield, 5973.
Shaw, T. (2017), Invisible manipulators of your mind. The New York Review of Books. Retrived from: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/04/20/kahneman-tversky-invisible-mind-manipulators/.
Steffel, M., Williams, E. F. and Pogacar, R. (2016), ‘Ethically Deployed Defaults: Transparency and Consumer Protection Through Disclosure and Preference Articulation’, Journal of Marketing Research, 53(5): 865880.
Sunstein, C. R. (2016a), ‘Do People Like Nudges?’, Administrative Law Review.
Sunstein, C. R. (2016b), ‘People prefer System 2 nudges (kind of)’, Duke Law Journal, 66(1): 121168.
Tannenbaum, D., Fox, C. R. and Rogers, T. (2017), ‘On the misplaced politics of behavioural policy interventions’, Nature Human Behaviour, 1(7).
Thaler, R. H. and Benartzi, S. (2004), ‘Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving’, Journal of Political Economy, 112(S1): S164S187.
Thaler, R. H. and Sunstein, C. R. (2008), Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Thorndike, A. N., Riis, J., Sonnenberg, L. M. and Levy, D. E. (2014), ‘Traffic-light labels and choice architecture: Promoting healthy food choices’, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(2): 143149.
Van Zant, A. B. and Moore, D. A. (2015), ‘Leaders’ use of moral justifications increases policy support’, Psychological Science, 26(6): 934943.
Waldron, J. (2014), It's all for your own good. The New York Review of Books. Retrieved from: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014/10/09/cass-sunstein-its-all-your-own-good/.
Walton, G. M. and Cohen, G. L. (2011), ‘A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students’, Science, 331(6023): 14471451.
Wansink, B. (2006), Mindless eating: Why we eat more than we think, New York, NY: Bantam Dell.

Are ‘nudges’ getting a fair shot? Joint versus separate evaluation

  • SHAI DAVIDAI (a1) and ELDAR SHAFIR (a2)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed