Advertisement

Legislation and Nudging. Towards a Suitable Definition

  • Silvia ZorzettoEmail author
  • Francesco FerraroEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Legisprudence Library book series (LEGIS, volume 5)

Abstract

“Nudging” is commonly seen as an appealing form of “smart legislation” based on the findings of behavioural sciences and alternative to traditional forms of regulation. However, notwithstanding the ever increasing references and a growing body of literature on its acceptability, a proper definition of the concept seems still lacking, since all the (scarce) attempts to date have only provided over- or under-inclusive definitions. This chapter purports to offer a more plausible definition. Firstly, the received view and especially Thaler’s and Sunstein’s descriptions of nudging will be examined and subjected to a first critical assessment. Secondly, a few examples will be made of policies enacted all around the world which are usually referred to as cases of nudging. Thirdly, some of the elements which have often been associated to nudging as its definitional features will be tested against the set of examples: such test will show that most of those elements must be done away with. Lastly, a “minimal” definition will be offered. While allowing us to distinguish nudging from other forms of conduct-influencing interventions, the minimal definition will exclude many features as its necessary conditions: among others, those related to specific ends and political ideologies.

Keywords

Nudge Smart legislation Choice architecture Behavioural sciences Liberal paternalism 

References

  1. Alemanno A, Sibony L (eds) (2015) Nudge and the law. A European perspective. Hart Publishing, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Alemanno A, Spina A (2014) Nudging legally: on the checks and balances of behavioral regulation. Int J Constitutional Law 12(2):429–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baldwin R (2014) From regulation to behaviour change: giving nudge the third degree. Modern Law Rev 77(6):831–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Casu A (2015) Fare meglio con meno. Nudge per l’amministrazione digitale. FrancoAngeli, MilanoGoogle Scholar
  5. Centro di Ricerca di Epistemologia Sperimentale e Applicata (CRESA): http://www.cresa.eu/pubblicazione/dove-va-la-nudge-revolution. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  6. Cohen IG, Fernandez Lynch H, Robertson CT (eds) (2016) Nudging health: health law and behavioral economics. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  7. Cserne P (2016) Is nudging really extra-legal? Tocqueville Rev 37(1):159–180Google Scholar
  8. Davidai S, Gilovich T, Ross LD (2012) The meaning of default options for potential organ donors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(38):15201–15205.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1211695109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. European Commission (2015) Communication from the commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions “Better regulation for better results - An EU agenda”. http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/index_en.htm. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  10. European Commission (2016a) Behavioural insights applied to policy. European Report 2016. SPAIN. Country Overview. Last updated: 20 February 2016. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/jrcsh/files/jrc-biap2016-spain_en.pdf. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  11. European Commission (2016b) “Better Regulation Toolbox”. https://ec.europa.eu/info/better-regulation-guidelines-and-toolbox_en. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  12. European Commission (2016c) Communication from the commission to the European Parliament, the European council and the council “Better Regulation: Delivering better results for a stronger Union”. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52016DC0615. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  13. Feinberg J (1984) Harm to others: the moral limits of the criminal law. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Foulkes K (2017) Nudge comes to shove: policymakers around the world are embracing behavioural science. The Economist, May 18Google Scholar
  15. Glod W (2015) How nudges often fail to treat people according to their own preferences. Soc Theory Pract 41(4):599–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hansen PG (2016a) Nudge and libertarian paternalism: does the hand fit the glove? Eur J Risk Regul 1:1–20Google Scholar
  17. Hansen PG (2016b) The definition of nudge and libertarian paternalism: does the hand fit the glove? Eur J Risk Regul 1:155–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hansen PG, Jespersen AM (2013) Nudge and the manipulation of choice: a framework for the responsible use of the nudge approach to behaviour change in public policy. Eur J Risk Regul 1:3–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ideas42 group, project and B-HUB: http://www.ideas42.org/about-us. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  20. iNudgeyou – The Applied Behavioural Science Group: www.inudgeyou.com. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  21. John P, Smith G, Stoker G (2009) Nudge nudge, think think: two strategies for changing civic behaviour. Political Q 80:361–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kapeliushnikov R (2015) Behavioral economics and the ‘new’ paternalism. Russian J Econ 1:81–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leone L (2017) When nutrition policy meets behavioural sciences. Regulating-by-nudging in the innovation union. Rivista di diritto alimentare 1:20–34. http://www.rivistadirittoalimentare.it. Accessed 4 Feb 2018Google Scholar
  24. Lourenço JS, Ciriolo E, Rafael Almeida S, Troussard X (2016) Behavioural insights applied to policy: European Report 2016, JRC Science Hub. Available at http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC100146/kjna27726enn_new.pdf. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  25. Ly K, Soman D (2013) Nudging around the World (Research Report Series). Retrieved from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. http://inside.rotman.utoronto.ca/behaviouraleconomicsinaction/files/2013/12/Nudging-Around-The-World_Sep2013.pdf. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  26. Mathis K, Tor A (eds) (2016) Nudging - possibilities, limitations and applications in European law and economics. Springer, Cham. E-bookGoogle Scholar
  27. McCrudden C, King J (2016) The dark side of nudging: the ethics, political economy, and law of libertarian paternalism. In: Kemmerer A, Möllers C, Steinbeis M, Wagner G (eds) Choice architecture in democracies. Exploring the legitimacy of nudging. Hart/Nomos, Oxford/Baden-Baden, pp 75–140Google Scholar
  28. Moles A (2015) Nudging for liberals. Soc Theory Pract 41:644–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mongin P, Cozic M (2014) Rethinking nudges. HEC Paris Research Paper No. ECO/SCD-2014-1067Google Scholar
  30. Nudge Italia: http://www.nudgeitalia.it/nudging. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  31. Nudge-it European Commission-funded FP7 project: https://www.nudge-it.eu. Accessed 4 Feb 2018.
  32. OECD (2017) Behavioural insights and public policy. Lessons from around the World. OECD Publishing, Paris.  https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264270480-en. Accessed 4 Feb 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ölander F, Thøgersen J (2014) Informing versus nudging in environmental policy. J Consum Policy 37:341–356.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-014-9256-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Quong J (2011) Liberalism without perfection. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  35. Saghai Y (2013) Salvaging the concept of nudging. J Med Ethics 39:487–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Santangeli A, Arroyo B, Dicks L, Herzon I, Kukkala A, Sutherland W, Moilanen A (2016) Voluntary non-monetary approaches for implementing conservation. Biol Conserv 197:209–214.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.03.013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sen A (1982) Rational fools: a critique of the behavioural foundations of economic theory. In: Sen A (ed) Choice, welfare and measurement. Basil Blackwell, Oxford, pp 84–106Google Scholar
  38. Smith MA, McPherson MS (2009) Nudging for equality: values in libertarian paternalism. Adm Law Rev 61:323–342Google Scholar
  39. Stopnitzky Y (2017) No toilet no bride? Intrahousehold bargaining in male-skewed marriage markets in India. J Dev Econ 127:269–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sunstein CR (2013) Simpler. The future of government. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. Sunstein CR (2014a) Why nudge? The politics of libertarian paternalism. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  42. Sunstein CR (2014b) Nudging: a very short guide. J Consum Policy 37(4):583–588. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:16205305. Accessed 4 Feb 2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sunstein CR (2015) The ethics of nudging. Yale J Regul 32:413–450Google Scholar
  44. Sunstein CR, Reisch LA, Rauber J (2017) A worldwide consensus on nudging? Not quite, but almost. Regul Gov 12:3–22.  https://doi.org/10.1111/rego.12161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. TEN – The European Nudging Network: www.tenudge.eu. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  46. Thaler RH, Sunstein CR (2009) Nudge. Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness, Revised edition. Penguin Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  47. The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT): http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  48. The Danish Nudging Network (in Danish): www.danishnudgingnetwork.dk. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  49. The Economist Newspaper Limited (24 March 2015) Nudge nudge, think think. http://www.economist.com/node/21551032. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  50. The Nudge Sustainability Hub. http://www.nudgesustainabilityhub.com. Accessed 4 Feb 2018
  51. Tor A (2016) The critical and problematic role of bounded rationality in nudging. In: Mathis K, Tor A (eds) Nudging – possibilities, limitations and applications in European law and economics. Springer, Cham, pp 3–10. E-bookCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. van Aaken A (2015) Constitutional limits to nudging: a proportionality assessment. In: Kemmerer A, Möllers C, Steinbels M, Wagner G (eds) Choice architecture in democracies. Exploring the legitimacy of nudging. Hart/Nomos, Oxford/Baden-Baden, pp 161–195Google Scholar
  53. Wilkinson TM (2013) Nudging and manipulation. Pol Stud 61:341–355.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00974.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Giuridiche “Cesare Beccaria”, Universitá degli studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

Personalised recommendations