Nudge: Three Degrees of Concern

4 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2015

See all articles by Robert Baldwin

Robert Baldwin

London School of Economics - Law Department

Date Written: February 1, 2015


Behaviour change strategies such as ‘nudge’ have become hugely popular with administrations on both sides of the Atlantic. Nudging, however, is a practice that raises both conceptual and controversial issues and these have to be addressed in examining the conditions under which nudging can be used effectively and acceptably. Hitherto there has been a lack of conceptual clarity in many debates about nudge but a key to understanding nudge-related issues is to distinguish between three very different degrees of nudge. These three degrees raise different, and identifiable, concerns and it is possible to assess the extent to which these worries can be responded to in positive terms. The compatibility of nudging with other control devices cannot be assumed and, when contemplating nudging, it is essential to be clear and open about the philosophical basis for such action as well as to be aware that different modes of intervention may operate with clashes of logic that threaten not only effectiveness but also the serving of representative and ethical ends.

Keywords: Regulation, Regulation Theory, Nudge, Behavioural Economics

Suggested Citation

Baldwin, Robert, Nudge: Three Degrees of Concern (February 1, 2015). LSE Law - Policy Briefing Paper No. 7, Available at SSRN: or

Robert Baldwin (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law Department ( email )

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