The concept of nudging, using a soft push in the direction of desired behavior by using knowledge from behavioural science, rather than changing the prices of a good or service or prohibiting it completely, is a novel way of reaching higher order goals such as sustainable consumption without restricting people in their daily lives.
Thaler and Sunstein (2008) defines a nudge as: "... any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting the fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not."
Aim 1: "To investigate when and why nudges affect consumers towards making more environmentally friendly and healthy decisions"
There is ample evidence that nudges have an effect on behaviour. However, the research that has been conducted on nudges up until now is scattered and varies considerably in the quality of its evaluation. In order to use nudges as a policy tool in an effective way a far more rigorous and systematic analysis is needed.
Aim 2: "To develop a guideline on how to design and evaluate the effect of nudges on sustainable consumption"
Our intention is to develop this guideline to be used both by practitioners and by administrators so that one can ensure that nudges are evaluated in accordance with academic standards.
Funding: Swedish EPA
Principal investigators: Fredrik Carlsson, Christina Gravert, Olof Johansson-Stenman, Verena Kurz
The overall objective of the project is to estimate power outage costs for different customer groups. Outage costs and cost parameters will be estimated for the following categories: households, manufacturing, agriculture, public sector, and trade and service sector. The costs are measured through the use of surveys to both households and firms, where they are asked to state their outage costs and willingness to pay to avoid outages with difference characteristics such as length and timing of outage.
In addition, the aim is to contribute to the development of the research methodology. In particular our focus is on addressing the issue of the difference between, in the survey situation, stated and actual behaviour.
Funding: Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate
Principal investigators: Fredrik Carlsson, Mitesh Kataria, Elina Lampi, Peter Martinsson