Nudge for Good? Choice Defaults and Spillover Effects
Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 178
33 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019
Date Written: January 18, 2019
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: Suggested Citation