Push, don't nudge: behavioral spillovers and policy instruments


d'Adda, G., Capraro, V. and Tavoni, M. 2017. Push, don't nudge: behavioral spillovers and policy instruments. Economics Letters. 154, pp. 92-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2017.02.029
TitlePush, don't nudge: behavioral spillovers and policy instruments
Authorsd'Adda, G., Capraro, V. and Tavoni, M.

Policy interventions are generally evaluated for their direct effectiveness. Little is known about their ability to persist over time and spill across contexts. These latter aspects can reinforce or offset the direct impacts depending on the policy instrument choice. Through an online experiment with 1,486 subjects, we compare four widely used policy instruments in terms of their ability to enforce a norm of fairness in the Dictator Game, and to persist over time (i.e., to a subsequent untreated Dictator Game) or spill over to a norm of cooperation (i.e., to a subsequent Prisoner's Dilemma). As specific policy interventions, we employed two instances of nudges: defaults and social information; and two instances of push measures: rebates and a minimum donation rule. Our results show that (i) rebates, the minimum donation rule and social information have a positive direct effect on fairness, although the effect of social information is only marginally significant, and that (ii) the effect of rebates and the minimum donation rule persists in the second game, but only within the same game type. These findings demonstrate that, within our specific design, push measures are more effective than nudges in promoting fairness.

JournalEconomics Letters
Publication dates
Online02 Mar 2017
Print07 May 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Nov 2018
Accepted02 Feb 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2017.02.029
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