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 20: Which nudges do people like? A national survey

Cass R. Sunstein


In surveys, majorities of Americans disapprove of twelve hypothetical nudges (seven involving default rules, five involving education campaigns or disclosure requirements). These results provide an illuminating contrast with majority support for twenty-two nudges that were also tested, and that are much more realistic examples of the kinds of nudges that have been adopted or seriously considered in democratic nations. In general (and with some interesting exceptions), there is a strikingly broad consensus, across partisan lines, about which nudges do and do not deserve support. The best understanding of the data is that people dislike those nudges that (a) promote what people see as illicit ends, or (b) are perceived as inconsistent with either the interests or values of most choosers.

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