Why Nudge?

Why Nudge?  

Download Cass Sunstein's presentation (PDF)

  • Professor Cass Sunstein, Harvard University (telepresence) talks about why governments use behavioural insights, and reflects on his time at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
  • Prof Sunstein makes the point that nudges are all around us and currently we are not aware what a “nudge” is and what is not. These nudges are often encouraging us to undertake actions that are not beneficial to us. These compound the fact that we often fail to neglect the long term, are unrealistically optimistic and are not as observant as we would like to be.
  • One of the key arguments for nudges is that they are effective and can lead to social outcomes. For this reason, we should always look at the choice architecture of any policy (either as government or in business) to ensure that we make “plates not pyramids”.
  • Nudges are less coercive than other policy options, safeguard freedom of choice and should always be public and transparent.


Behavioural Economics and Behaviour Change

Download David Laibson's presentation (PDF)

  • Professor David Laibson, Harvard University, talks about the growing use of behavioural insights by government and business.
  • There is a gap between intentions. For example, we want to eat healthily, go to the gym, or save more - but we don’t.
  • Laibson describes scalable, inexpensive, and often free interventions (or “nudges”) that can align intentions and actions. These include commitment contracts, post it notes, defaults and plans. 
  • Instead, we are too focused on the present rather than on the future or on our actions’ consequences.