Publish at October 12 2021 Updated October 14 2021

Are behavioural incentives always good?

Do we always need to be pushed to good behaviour?

Behavioral incentives, known by their English name "nudge", are increasingly present in our lives. These small initiatives that seek to change our behavior have never been as visible as during the pandemic. All those jars of hydroalcoholic gel at the entrance of stores, those arrows telling us where to walk, those markers reminding us of the minimum distance, etc. All of these are part of the different approaches to ensure that we are doing the right thing.

These techniques are also seen in digital with, for example, the acceptance of cookies on news sites that will be colored while the refusal grayed out. Yet can these measures become ineffective?

The danger is that it infantilizes the citizen, seeing him or her as a lazy person, unable to make good decisions. Moreover, some are outright manipulations like on travel sites where the internet user is strongly urged to choose a single offer quickly before it disappears.  Which often turns out to be misleading.

Nevertheless, both the commercial and political worlds don't seem to be about to abandon these techniques, which work for the most part.

Time: 23min45

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Illustration : on Usplash

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