Michael King, Anuj Pratap Singh, 14 December 2018

Financial products with a cashback feature are increasingly popular, but typically cost consumers more in the long run. This column shows that consumers who are younger and less educated, and those affected by present bias and inattention, are more likely to choose more expensive 'cashback mortgages'. Advanced behaviourally informed disclosure improves consumer decision-making. Advertising in the form of a 'negative nudge' or sludge, however, encourages prospective buyers to choose more costly mortgages. 

Pierre Dubois, Rachel Griffith, Martin O'Connell, 29 January 2018

A growing number of jurisdictions have adopted taxes on sugary drinks to help combat excessive sugar consumption. This column simulates the introduction of a volumetric tax on sugary soda in Britain to examine how well targeted such taxes are. The simulated tax leads young people to reduce the amount of sugar they purchase via soda by around 80% more than the average consumer, but is less effective at targeting people with a high-sugar diet.

Philip Oreopoulos, Uros Petronijevic, 13 November 2016

Questions over the value of a university education are underscored by negative student experiences. Personalised coaching is a promising, but costly, tool to improve student experiences and performance. This column presents the results from an experiment comparing coaching with lower cost ‘nudge’ interventions. While coaching led to a significant increase in average course grades, online and text message interventions had no effect. The benefits of coaching appear to derive from the trust-based nature of relationships and personalised attention.

Christian Schubert, 22 January 2016

Nudges are modifications of people’s choice architecture that impact their behaviour but don’t change their incentives or coerce them. As a policy instrument, nudges have been shown to be effective in changing certain kinds of behaviours. This column explores the ethical issues that arise in employing such potentially manipulative policies. An evaluation programme is outlined that explores a potential policy’s impact on people’s wellbeing, autonomy, and integrity, along with its practical implications.

Giacomo Calzolari, Mattia Nardotto, 19 September 2011

Do 'nudges' help people stick to their goals? The authors of CEPR DP8571 find that quick reminders can promote virtuous behaviour without the need for monetary incentives.

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