What nudge theory got wrong

Is behavioural public policy a distraction from finding systemic solutions?

If, however, the real problem is not individual but systemic, then nudges are at best limited and, at worst, a harmful diversion. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: UNSPLASH
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

(FINANCIAL TIMES) - The best-selling 2008 book Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, helped inspire experimentally tested, psychologically informed policy work around the world, often developed by "behavioural insight teams" in or adjacent to government.

Now two leading behavioural scientists, Professors Nick Chater and George Loewenstein, have published an academic working paper suggesting that the movement has lost its way.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.