Assignment 2: Choice architecture and nudges

“A nudge is any aspect of choice architecture that alters peoples’ behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.”

Nudge, Thaler & Sunstein, 2008

For this assignment, think of a situation in which you or another person might have a hard time making a choice to do something that is better in the long run. Some examples might be as simple as keeping track of your keys or as complex as saving for retirement. Healthy eating, exercise, are sticking to a budget are all everyday examples where nudges can come in handy. Finishing a personal project or working on an enjoyable hobby instead of doom scrolling are less everyday, but also could benefit from a nudge.

Design a nudge that would help people choose a better alternative. It could be just for you or for people in general.

Some types of nudges are:

· Opt-in vs opt-out defaults – when people must opt-out of something like organ donation or retirement programs, they are more likely to participate.

· Make it easy: If you want kids to eat fruit, give them fruit that’s already sliced.

· Reminders: Messages that your car is due for service – from your car.

· Curation: Reduce the number of options in a choice set.

· Perceptual: lines on Lakeshore Drive, putting food on a smaller plate.

Negative nudges:

· Don’t save your credit card information online.

· Don’t bring home food or alcohol that you want to avoid consuming.

For the assignment:

· Explain the problem you’re designing the nudge for. What is the usual behavior and what is the hoped-for behavior?

· Is it just for you or is it more general?

· Describe the nudge and how it will work.

· If possible, try it and report your results.

Have fun!

Due May 14th before class.

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