Trusting Nudges? Lessons from an International Survey

Cass R. Sunstein, Lucia A. Reisch & Micha Kaiser (2018) Trusting nudges? Lessons from an international survey, Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2018.1531912

Posted: 13 Jun 2018 Last revised: 17 Oct 2018

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Lucia A. Reisch

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Management, Society and Communication; Zeppelin University CCMP - Center for Consumer Markets Politics

Micha Kaiser

University of Hohenheim; Zeppelin University

Date Written: June 4, 2018

Abstract

In the past decade, policymakers have increasingly used behaviourally informed policies, including “nudges,” to produce desirable social outcomes. But do people actually endorse those policies? This study reports on nationally representative surveys in five countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, South Korea, and the US) carried out in 2018. We investigate whether people in these countries approve of a list of 15 nudges regarding health, the environment, and safety issues. A particular focus is whether trust in public institutions is a potential mediator of approval. The study confirms this correlation. We also find strong majority support of all nudges in the five countries. Our findings in general, and about trust in particular, suggest the importance not only of ensuring that behaviourally informed policies are effective, but also of developing them transparently and openly, and with an opportunity for members of the public to engage and to express their concerns.

Keywords: behaviourally public policy, choice architecture, nudge, public approval, trust, online representative survey

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R. and Reisch, Lucia A. and Kaiser, Micha, Trusting Nudges? Lessons from an International Survey (June 4, 2018). Cass R. Sunstein, Lucia A. Reisch & Micha Kaiser (2018) Trusting nudges? Lessons from an international survey, Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2018.1531912 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3191954 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3191954

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lucia A. Reisch

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Management, Society and Communication ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Zeppelin University CCMP - Center for Consumer Markets Politics ( email )

Am Seemooser Horn 20
Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance 88045
Germany

Micha Kaiser

University of Hohenheim ( email )

Fruwirthstr. 48
Stuttgart, 70599
Germany

Zeppelin University ( email )

Am Seemooser Horn 20
Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance 88045
Germany

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