Reisch, Lucia A.Nudging light and dark: Rules for digital nudging

Recommended reading

Lucia A. Reisch

Release date:
February 2020

Wirtschaftsdienst 100, pages 87–91

Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize winner for his services to behavioral economics, signs each of his books with "Nudge for Good". There are good reasons for this: 'Nudging', that is, the use of behavior-based regulation, is often misunderstood and sometimes deliberately misrepresented. Framing works. In all directions. On the other hand, knowledge about nudging and behavioral policy is used for goals that have nothing to do with the intent and definition of the two namesakes, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, but are commercially, politically motivated or simply not legitimate.

In particular, 'digital nudging', i.e. the design of digital user interfaces with the aim of influencing the (decision) behavior of users in digital environments, is under critical observation and rightly so. The media in particular like to mix digital nudging with the legitimate debate about the risky effects of increasingly effective personalization and targeting options for society and democracy. In fact, the immense amount of personal data and increasingly intelligent algorithms that powerful digital oligopolists have open up completely new possibilities for manipulating opinions and decisions.

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