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The effect of paternalistic alternatives on attitudes toward default nudges

  • WILLIAM HAGMAN (a1), ARVID ERLANDSSON (a1), STEPHAN DICKERT (a2), GUSTAV TINGHÖG (a3) and DANIEL VÄSTFJÄLL (a4)...

Abstract

Nudges are increasingly being proposed and used as a policy tool around the world. The success of nudges depends on public acceptance. However, several questions about what makes a nudge acceptable remain unanswered. In this paper, we examine whether policy alternatives to nudges influence the public's acceptance of these nudges: Do attitudes change when the nudge is presented alongside either a more paternalistic policy alternative (legislation) or a less paternalistic alternative (no behavioral intervention)? In two separate samples drawn from the Swedish general public, we find a very small effect of alternatives on the acceptability of various default nudges overall. Surprisingly, we find that when the alternative to the nudge is legislation, acceptance decreases and perceived intrusiveness increases (relative to conditions where the alternative is no regulation). An implication of this finding is that acceptance of nudges may not always automatically increase when nudges are explicitly compared to more paternalistic alternatives.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

*Correspondence to: Daniel Västfjäll, Department of Behavioral Science and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden. Email: daniel.vastfjall@liu.se

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The effect of paternalistic alternatives on attitudes toward default nudges

  • WILLIAM HAGMAN (a1), ARVID ERLANDSSON (a1), STEPHAN DICKERT (a2), GUSTAV TINGHÖG (a3) and DANIEL VÄSTFJÄLL (a4)...

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