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What works best in reducing meat consumption? A comparison of nudge, boost, think, and nudge plus

11 August 2021

What works best in reducing meat consumption? A comparison of nudge, boost, think, and nudge plus

Sanchayan Banerjee, PhD candidate in Environmental Economics at the LSE, takes us through his systemic comparison of nudge, boost, think, and nudge + methods in influencing consumer decisions to reduce emissions from their food consumption.

In this webinar, Sanchayan will present theoretical and empirical evidence from his doctoral research, on a new theory of behaviour change called Nudge+. Nudge+ is a modification of the toolkit of behavioural public policy that offers a sophisticated model of cognition in citizens by engaging them in adopting pro-environmental and pro-social behaviour.

Developed by Banerjee and John (2021; forthcoming in Journal of Behavioural Public Policy), nudge+ is a hybrid nudge-think strategy that overcomes the limitations of nudges by improving their efficacy and by making them transparent to receivers.

Sanchayan will introduce the conceptualisation and mechanistic design of nudge+ before presenting his findings from an online survey experiment (with N=3074 UK residents) on the relative efficacy of four categories of behavioural interventions, namely nudge, boost, think and nudge plus in reducing the choice of carbon-intensive foods.

Using this online survey experiment, Sanchayan and his co-authors (Matteo Galizzi, Peter John and Susana Mourato) randomly evaluate the systematic effectiveness of ten different intervention tools that belong to these four broad intervention categories. They find that while all these behavioural interventions work in promoting pro-environmental behaviour; some work better than the others. Almost unambiguously, the hybrid nudge plus interventions work better in reducing the choice of carbon-intensive foods than their corresponding heuristically driven (like nudges and short-term boosts) or reflective (like thinks and long-term boosts) counterparts. Nonetheless, the efficacy of the hybrid nudge+ tool depends on the ordering of the plus with the nudge, and the strength of reflection embedded in the plus. The authors find no evidence of any negative behavioural spillovers from using these behavioural interventions

Sanchayan Banerjee is a doctoral candidate in behavioural and environmental economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) and teaches in the field of applied environmental and developmental economics and quantitative methods at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the school.

Sanchayan has been working to develop the economic and psychological theory of Nudge Plus, along with Peter John, for the last four years in his doctoral research. He has been awarded many prestigious scholarships and grants for his current research, namely the LSE Robert and Dilys Rawson doctoral scholarship, the Knowledge and Exchange Impacts award for outreach of Nudge Plus and the RGS-IBG Frederick Soddy postgraduate award. His work has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as the journals of Behavioural Public Policy and Behavioural Public Administration.

Sanchayan has reached out to over 450 policymakers globally to help them adapt in how to Nudge Plus. He has presented the framework of Nudge Plus to the steering group of the Mind, Behaviour and Development unit (eMBeD) at the World Bank and is currently developing a policy brief on how policymakers should decide between behavioural interventions with Peter John and Ralph Hertwig.

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