A report published by the UK’s House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-committee on behavioural change policy finds that ‘nudges’ and similar behavioural interventions are ineffective in isolation from other measures to change people’s behaviour.
A nudge is any action that seeks to change people’s behaviour by altering the environment or the context of their decisions. Policy-makers are attracted to this approach, because it is non-regulatory and apparently cost-effective. But the report concludes that a mixture of interventions is needed, including regulation and taxation.
The Committee also found that much of government policy in this area is not based on evidence. They recommend that the UK Government finds a way to make the available evidence more accessible to policy-makers and that it appoints a chief social scientist to communicate research-based advice to policy-makers.