Covid and the Limits of ‘Nudge’
In recent years the idea that governments can use ‘nudges’ to influence how people behave has become very fashionable. A ‘nudge’ can be defined as a means of influencing individual and social behaviour, for example through the provision of information, that does not involve official coercion. A ‘nudge’ is contrasted with a law or regulation that must be obeyed, or a tax that must be paid, and that involve penalties if they are disregarded. This blog contends that the experience with behaviour in the COVID pandemic suggests that the claims in favour of ‘nudges’ have been greatly exaggerated.