Nudging and Uncertainty (Abstract)

In three respects, behaviorally informed governance faces much deeper uncertainty than traditional intervention. The first source of uncertainty is theoretical. Many empirically well-established behavioral effects are still not well understood. The second source of uncertainty is empirical. Despite the richness of many experimental literatures, many effects are still disputed. It is always up to debate whether lab evidence extrapolates to the phenomena in the field one wants to understand. The third source of uncertainty is heterogeneity. Hardly any behavioral effect is uniform.

The substantial additional uncertainty poses a practical problem. Behaviorally informed intervention may be pointless since analysis or prediction have gone wrong ...

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