Public policy is being increasingly informed by insights from the behavioural sciences. One such behavioural approach is the Nudge theory. It is mainly concerned with the design of choices, which influences the decisions we make. Nudge theory proposes that the designing of choices should be based on how people actually think and decide, rather than how leaders and authorities traditionally believe people think and decide. – PuuchoIAS


Topic: Case Studies on above issues.

7. Public policy is being increasingly informed by insights from the behavioural sciences. One such behavioural approach is the Nudge theory. It is mainly concerned with the design of choices, which influences the decisions we make. Nudge theory proposes that the designing of choices should be based on how people actually think and decide, rather than how leaders and authorities traditionally believe people think and decide.

In this context, answer the following questions:

(a) Giving examples, illustrate the difference between enforced change and ‘Nudge’ techniques?

(b) Identify the ethical concerns associated with the nudge technique. Also, suggest ways for using nudging theory ethically. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question is based on the Nudge theory.  

Key Demand of the question:

Illustrate the difference between enforced change and ‘Nudge’ techniques and Identify the ethical concerns associated with the nudge technique. Also, suggest ways for using nudging theory ethically.

 Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with a brief note on the use of behavioral insights to inform public policy.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Differentiate between Traditional methods of social change and change brought through the use of ‘Nudge’ techniques. Behavioural sciences are being used these days to make policy interventions more effective. One of the behavioural theories, which is being considered better than the traditional ones suggest ‘nudging’ or modifying people’s choice architecture that impacts their behavior without coercing them.

Discuss the fundamental issues arising out of designing people’s choices using insights about their thought and behavior.

Conclusion:

Conclude with – Nudge techniques try to solve important problems in smart and inexpensive ways. They have potential to increase social welfare as well. However, it is marred with several ethical concerns. Therefore, the choice architect must follow transparency while conceiving a possible nudge.

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