Institute for Resource Management
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Nudging - political instrument - intuitive behaviour – environmental politics - cognitive and social psychology - behavioural economy [21.09.2016]

New publication: "Nudging" as innovative environmental policy instrument


Over the years, environmental policy was characterized by a toolset consisting mainly of restrictive (e.g. bans) and non-restrictive measures (e.g., monetary incentives). Although this toolset was successful in some domains (e.g., the containment of chlorofluorocarbon), unintended effects (e.g. rebound effects in energy consumption) have become apparent in other domains.

Against this background, the idea of nudging has become increasingly popular in both academic and political circles. There are, however, many different interpretations of the term ‘nudge’ which blurs its scope. The article "Nudging as a new ‘soft’ tool in environmental policy – An analysis based on insights from cognitive and social psychology" by Dr. Gabriela Michalek (UFZ), Prof. Dr. Reimund Schwarze (Viadrina Frankfurt Oder/ UFZ), Prof. Dr. Georg Meran (TU Berlin) und Dr. Özgür Yildiz (inter 3) in the current volume of "Zeitschrift für Umweltpolitik & Umweltrec ht", want to resolve this issue.

In their research article the authors focus on the conceptualization of nudges and its functionality in reference to the Dual Process models. Further, the authors discuss the potential applications of nudging as an important extension of the current environmental policy toolkit. In particular, the potential of nudges to support habit formation and enhance the performance of the ‘classical’ economic instruments when used in the so-called instrument mix is assessed. The theoretical discussion is illustrated by a set of examples concerning practical implementation of nudging in in the environmental policy domain.