Nudge for Good? Choice Defaults and Spillover Effects

Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 178

33 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019

See all articles by Claus Ghesla

Claus Ghesla

ETH Zurich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences

Manuel Grieder

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS); Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

Jan Schmitz

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 18, 2019

Abstract

Policy makers increasingly use choice defaults to promote `good' causes by influencing socially relevant decisions in desirable ways, e.g., to increase pro-environmental choices or pro-social behavior in general. Such default nudges are remarkably successful when judged by their effects on the targeted behaviors in isolation. However, there is scant knowledge about possible spillover effects of pro-social behavior that was induced by defaults on subsequent related choices. Behavioral spillover effects could eliminate or even reverse the initially positive effects of choice defaults, and it is thus important to study their significance. We report results from a laboratory experiment exploring the subsequent behavioral consequences of pro-social choice defaults. Our results are promising: Pro-social behavior induced by choice defaults does not result in adverse spillover effects on later, subsequent behavior. This finding holds for both weak and strong choice defaults.

Keywords: defaults, nudge, licensing, consistency, spillovers

JEL Classification: C91, D01, D04

Suggested Citation

Ghesla, Claus and Grieder, Manuel and Schmitz, Jan, Nudge for Good? Choice Defaults and Spillover Effects (January 18, 2019). Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 178. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2942744 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2942744

Claus Ghesla (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich, Zurich 8006
Switzerland

Manuel Grieder

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

Chair of Economics
Clausiusstrasse 87
Zurich, 8093
Switzerland

Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

Center for Energy and the Environment
School of Management and Law
Winterthur, CH 8401
Switzerland

Jan Schmitz

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics ( email )

Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

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