Reading List: Nudges

Trying to help people do what's in their best interests.

Illustration of a man looking at a carrot while a magnet opens his head Research Brief / Behavioral Economics

Behavioral Economics: Are Nudges Cost-Effective?

A team of experts makes the financial case that governments should spend more on nudging

Illustration of a house, cap, rings, car keys, baby crib Feature / Behavioral Decision Making

Behavioral Nudges Timed to Certain Days are Effective Motivator

Dates of milestones — major and minor — can spur us to action

Pink hot air balloon Feature / Behavioral Decision Making

How to Spot a Nudge Gone Rogue

Researchers find common warning signs in persuasion projects that went wrong

Illustration of a face Feature / Behavioral Decision Making

People Don’t Mind Government Nudges, but Prefer Them Free of Politics

When an unloved cause or political adversary is attached to a nudge, the method itself becomes suspect

Three images of man's profile Feature / Behavioral Decision Making

Advancing the Study of Using Future-Self Images to Alter Behavior

Successful projects suggest a more thorough cataloging of how “vividness” nudges can help us delay gratification

Illustration of people as wind-up toys Research Brief / Retirement

Americans Sacrifice $3.4 Trillion by Claiming Social Security Too Soon

Can nudges, tailored to personality traits, persuade retirees to wait?

Illustrations of a timeline Feature / Time

An Aerial, as Opposed to Ground-Level, View of Time

A novel framework proposes to reduce angst over schedules and lives

Illustration of US dollars stacked Feature / Retirement Planning

Are Americans Really Annuity-Averse? Clear Thinking on Retirement Income

A monthly check, not just a pile of cash: Studies demystify the instruments too few are using

City street under construction in Dubai Research Brief / Behavioral Decision Making

Are You Nudging Me? Oh, OK, Go Ahead

Research shows individuals aren’t necessarily turned off when they know they are being coaxed toward a specific choice

Two letters from UCLA Health Research Brief / Health Care

Carefully Crafted Messaging Boosts Uptake in Cancer Screening

Embedding psychological nudges in mail reminding people to get tested improves compliance

Illustration of a woman meditating Research Brief / Personal Finance

Good Information Alone Won’t Drive Financial Well-Being

A review of academic research finds the path to saving more and spending less often involves emotional prompts

Two people smiling Feature / Retirement Planning

Helping People Make Wise Decisions for Retirement Income

Nudges, long aimed at saving behavior, are needed for people converting a nest egg into income

Hand sanitizer dispenser Feature / Health Care

Hospital Hand-Washing: The Limits of Electronic Monitoring

The anti-infection procedure rises for a time, when workers are watched, and then falls off

Person using a computer to check their 401K Research Brief / Retirement Planning

Maximizing Retirement Savings: More Nudging Required

Tweaking 401(k) website design and language can significantly boost worker contributions, yet HR doesn’t always see these opportunities

Illustration of a calendar with 15th circled Research Brief / Psychology

Motivation to Begin or an Excuse to Slack Off?

Fresh-start dates can serve as either — it’s a two-way nudge

Broken piggy bank full of coins Feature / Retirement

Save, Save, Save, but Then What? Financial Structure and Spending in Retirement

Innumerable nudges help savings accumulation; now researchers turn to decumulation

Illustration of a young man looking into a mirror, reflecting his older self Feature / Time

The Healthy Upside of Thinking about an Older You

Consciously imagining our older self can spur us to take better care of ourselves now

Woman with a laptop and smartphone Research Brief / Retirement Planning

Thinking Small Could Deliver Bigger Retirement Success for Gig Workers

Daily, weekly and monthly contribution schemes gauge behavior

Illustration of a convertible car Research Brief / Time Management

Vacation Mindset: How Weekends Can Be More Refreshing

Researchers told subjects to treat their weekend like a vacation, then gauged happiness on Monday

Dusty wine bottles on a rack Feature / Behavioral Decision Making

When Delayed Gratification Backfires

A self-imposed quest for a perfect time to enjoy an indulgence often means missing out on actually having a good experience