Tag Archives: RCT

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.


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.

When Retailing and Las Vegas Meet: Probabilistic Free Price Promotions

My co-authors Kristina Shampanier, Dan Ariely, and I, published a research article in Management Science (2017) on the attraction of lottery-type of price promotions.

A number of retailers offer gambling- or lottery-type price promotions with a chance to receive one’s entire purchase for free. Although these retailers seem to share the intuition that probabilistic free price promotions are attractive to consumers, it is unclear how they compare to traditional sure price promotions of equal expected monetary value. We compared these two risky and sure price promotions for planned purchases across six experiments in the field and in the laboratory. Together, we found that consumers are not only more likely to purchase a product promoted with a probabilistic free discount over the same product promoted with a sure discount but that they are also likely to purchase more of it. This preference seems to be primarily due to a diminishing sensitivity to the prices. In addition, we find that the zero price effect, transaction cost, and novelty considerations are likely not implicated.

How to decrease credit card delinquency with IVR messages

In a large scale randomized control trial with a credit card company, my coauthors Daniel Mochon, Dan Ariely, and I successfully used behavioral insights in the company’s interactive voice recording (IVR) messages to significantly decrease delinquency. A win-win outcome for both customers and the company. The paper has been accepted at the Journal of Consumer Psychology in 2018 and the full version is available via OpenAccess 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,