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“Many a slip between the cup and the lip”: The effect of default-based nudges on prosocial behavior and attitudes

Just released a new working paper with Magdalena Kaczmarek, a former IMPRS PhD student in Jena and a very clever, dynamic and talented researcher in psychology.

Gaudeul, A. and M.C. Kaczmarek (2016): “Many a slip between the cup and the lip”: The effect of default-based nudges on prosocial behavior and attitudes,  CEGE Discussion Paper, No. 297, https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/cegedp/297.html

We investigate the merits of nudging as an approach to promote public welfare. Our paper presents the results of a controlled experiment on 988 participants. This experiment was not designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a nudge in terms of influencing people’s short-term decisions (this has been done ad nauseam). Rather, we examine whether the act of yielding to or opposing a nudge affected people’s subsequent attitudes and actual behavior in a charity-giving context.

By revealing the longer term impact of a default-based nudge,  we reveal possible issues with the acceptance and effectiveness of paternalistic interventions in terms of their longer-term effect on people’s attitudes and behavior. This is a new area of research but we mention in our introduction a few existing publications on the topic.

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