Why a nudge is not enough: a social identity critique of governance by stealth

Mols, Frank, Haslam, S. Alexander, Jetten, Jolanda and Steffens, Niklas K. (2015) Why a nudge is not enough: a social identity critique of governance by stealth. European Journal of Political Research, 54 1: 81-98. doi:10.1111/1475-6765.12073

Author Mols, Frank
Haslam, S. Alexander
Jetten, Jolanda
Steffens, Niklas K.
Title Why a nudge is not enough: a social identity critique of governance by stealth
Journal name European Journal of Political Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1475-6765
Publication date 2015-02-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1475-6765.12073
Open Access Status
Volume 54
Issue 1
Start page 81
End page 98
Total pages 18
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Policy makers can use four different modes of governance: 'hierarchy', 'markets', 'networks' and 'persuasion'. In this article, it is argued that 'nudging' represents a distinct (fifth) mode of governance. The effectiveness of nudging as a means of bringing about lasting behaviour change is questioned and it is argued that evidence for its success ignores the facts that many successful nudges are not in fact nudges; that there are instances when nudges backfire; and that there may be ethical concerns associated with nudges. Instead, and in contrast to nudging, behaviour change is more likely to be enduring where it involves social identity change and norm internalisation. The article concludes by urging public policy scholars to engage with the social identity literature on 'social influence', and the idea that those promoting lasting behaviour change need to engage with people not as individual cognitive misers, but as members of groups whose norms they internalise and enact.
Keyword Modes of governance
Social identity theory
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 21 November 2014.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
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