Handbook of Behavioural Change and Public Policy
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Handbook of Behavioural Change and Public Policy

Edited by Holger Straßheim and Silke Beck

Behavioural change has become a core issue of public policy. Behavioural instruments such as ‘nudging’ apply insights from behavioural economics and behavioural sciences, psychology and neurosciences across a broad range of policy areas. Behavioural insights teams and networks facilitate the global spread of behavioural public policies. Despite an ever-growing amount of literature, research has remained fragmented. This comprehensive Handbook unites interdisciplinary scholarship, with contributions critically assessing the state and direction of behavioural public policies, their normative implications and political consequences.
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Chapter 11: Nudging citizens’ knowledge in knowledge-based EU: the case of breast cancer screening programmes and participatory rights in choice architectures

Luca Leone and Mariachiara Tallacchini


This chapter reflects on nudging and choice architecture in the light of how the concept of European citizenship has been designed. Since the beginning of the passage between the economic and the political European communities citizenship has been considered as a key element in legitimizing innovation both from the epistemic and the normative point of view. This role, however, has remained mostly theoretical, if not rhetorical; nonetheless, the pressures to speed-up governance in Europe have led to new regulatory soft practices (such as nudge) that challenge citizenship. Two examples, dealing with health and digital privacy, where citizens are treated as ‘objects of concern and control’, reveal some of these ambiguities. In order to rethink nudging as a more legitimate form of normative innovation, the notions of Participatory Design and Rights-in-Design are proposed as ways to open up and reframe choice architectures by granting more robust epistemic and democratic credibility.

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