Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2019-02: Nudging with Care: The Risks and Benefits of Social Information


Norms and nudges are both popular types of interventions. Recent years have seen the rise of 'norm-nudges' - nudges whose mechanism of action relies on social norms, eliciting or changing social expectations. Norm-nudges can be powerful interventions, but they can easily fail to be effective and can even backfire unless they are designed with care. We highlight important considerations when designing norm-nudges and discuss a general model of social behavior based on expectations and conditional preferences. We present the results of several experiments where norm-nudging can backfire, and ways to avoid these negative outcomes.

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Cristina Bicchieri and Eugen Dimant


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Posted on Monday 29th April 2019

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