Success of strategies for solving problems of climate change, resource efficiency and environmental impacts increasingly depend on whether changes in public behavior can and will supplement the technical solutions available to date. A renewed perspective on existing policy tools and potential strategies for behavior change are entering public debate that have implications for behavior of individuals, but that also raise critical questions about the role of the government in the society and transition to sustainability.
The guiding question is whether it is possible to help individuals make better decisions for themselves and society at large by overcoming limitations of human cognitive capacity and behavioural biases? In order to answer these questions, this article 1) analyses existing academic knowledge on nudging and choice architecture; 2) investigates lessons about effectiveness of applied nudging tools and approaches in consumption domains of energy use in the home, food and mobility; 3) discusses opportunities and limitations for devising more successful nudges in the three consumption domains; and 4) outlines critical issues concerning the legitimacy of nudging. The article shows that lately applications of behavioral sciences and behavioral economics, such as nudge, have been helping policy makers in different countries and sectors to more systematically integrate behavioral insights into policy design and implementation. However, the size of the effects of policy interventions and the actual outcomes of interventions in different contexts are very diverse.
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