Tag Archives: Nudge

Applied Policy: Moving Ontarians Online

To improve efficiency and reduce costs, government agencies provide more and more services online. Yet, sometimes people do not access these new services. For example, prior to our field experiment intervention, Ontario spent $35 million annually on infrastructure needed for in-person license plate sticker renewals. In Canada’s most populous province, only 10% of renewals occurred online. Our intervention tested variations in messaging mailed with sticker renewal forms that encouraged consumers to renew online. We changed text and color on the envelope to try to make the benefits of the online service more salient. In addition, changes to text and color on the renewal form itself emphasized either consumer gains from online renewals or losses associated with in-person renewals. Each intervention increased use of the online service when compared to the unaltered messaging. The combination of salience and gain framing achieved the highest number of online renewals: a 41.7% relative increase.

Academic Paper: Castelo, Noah, Elizabeth Hardy, Julian House, Nina Mazar, Claire Tsai and Min Zhao (2015), Moving Citizens Online: Using Salience & Message Framing to Motivate Behavior Change, Behavioral Science & Policy, 1 (2), 57-68.

Summary: IdeaExchange – Faculty Focus: Nina Mažar (2016), How “Choice Architecture” Changes Behaviour, Rotman Management Magazine, Fall, 103-106.

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Guide: How to Nudge for Practitioners

The goal of this Practitioner’s Guide to Nudging is to add to and complement other nudging resources by:

1. Providing an organizational framework that identifies dimensions along which nudging approaches could be categorized.

2. Presenting a number of short case studies.

3. Giving the practitioner (the choice architect) some process guidelines on how to develop a nudge (or a program that comprises of multiple nudges).

To download the report, please click here.


Work with Government Agencies

I am currently involved in various projects with governmental agencies in which we use behavioral insights in  randomized control trials to, for example,


Choice Architecture in Conflicts of Interest

Default options significantly influence individuals’ tendencies to comply with public policy goals such as organ donation. My co-author Scott Hawkins and I extend that notion and explore the role defaults can play in encouraging (im)moral conduct. Our findings support a more nuanced perspective on the implication of the different types of costs associated with default options and offer practical insights for policy, such as taxation, to nudge honesty.

Paper: Mazar, Nina and Scott A. Hawkins (2015), Choice Architecture in Conflicts of Interest: Defaults as Physical and Psychological Barriers to (Dis)honesty, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 59 (July), 113-117. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.04.004.