When Nudges Backfire: How Not To Improve Attitudes Towards Shared E-Scooters
26 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2022
Date Written: February 21, 2022
As part of a push towards sustainable transportation, there have been several rental e-scooter trials in UK cities. However, vandalism and mistreatment have plagued these schemes, and the adoption of e-scooters remains low. We test the effectiveness of nudges designed to improve attitudes and uptake of shared e-scooters. These nudges are based on three main mechanisms: ownership, social norm messaging, and social status signalling. We find that our main ownership and social status nudges are not only ineffective, they worsen attitudes towards shared e-scooters and reduce intended uptake. Injunctive norm messaging did not have any significant impact on stated adoption or willingness to report misuse. Our results highlight the potential consequences of nudges that backfire. We recommend carefully testing proposed nudges within the intended context before implementation, even if they have been successful in a different context, in order to avoid negative consequences.
Keywords: nudges, e-scooter, micromobility, psychological ownership, social norms
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