Assorted links

1) Nudging rules for charities.
2) Exercise meets commerce.
3) Just buy this one – a site that radically simplifies shopping (and requires a lot of trust in its consumer ratings). Hat tip: Rory Sutherland.
4) Washington State posts surgical infection rates at all state hospitals online. Hat tip: Maria Kovell.
5) Electronic prescriptions lead to higher non-adherence? Strange. Hat tip: Gilad Buchman.
6) A version of RECAP for bank loan fees in India. Hat tip: Mostly Economics.
7) What’s the secret to marketing the McRib? Artificial scarcity.

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  • Veronica

    Great information about the charities that are out there trying to trick people into giving. There are so many things we have to watch out for. Many of us think as giving to a charity is a good thing and we will be awarded for giving. Which I believe we all reap what we sow.

  • Hellokittykisses

    As individuals, our opinions and perspectives differ on a variety of topics and issues. The notion of a nudge encompasses a subconscious force which establishes norms and consensus, despite personal uniqueness. While the overall concept of nudges is seemingly offensive on the surface, when used properly and in the right context, we believe nudges are not only acceptable but useful. Some nudges are forthright while others are more subtle in their demeanor. Most of us are unaware of the prevalent use of nudges in almost every aspect of our daily lives.

    Over the years, society has deemed smoking to be unacceptable due to the negative health effects associated with it. Not only does smoking impair the bodily functions of the smoker, but people that are around them are also put in harm’s way. Heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, lung cancer, strokes, and premature death are a few common illnesses faced by those that choose to light up. “During 2000 -2004, smoking-attributable health care costs and productivity losses totaled $193 billion per year (” What a disheartening fact, especially because smoking-related illnesses are preventable by just saying, “No”.

    An aggressive nudge that has proven to be very influential and effective among teenagers in recent years is the advertisement campaign, truth. “The truth campaign is the largest national youth-focused anti-tobacco education campaign ever (Protect the Truth).” The campaign’s initiative was to disclose Big Tobacco’s marketing and manufacturing practices, as well as finding innovative ways to communicate the negative effects of tobacco (Protect the Truth). Their philosophy isn’t anti-smoker or pro-smoker; it’s about an industry manipulating its products, facts and advertising to secure replacements for the 1,200 customers they ‘lose’ everyday – because they die ( Even though the target market of the advertisements was youth and teens, the messages made a lasting impression on many adults.

    ‘Big Tobacco’, as the leading companies within the industry are often referred to, spends approximately $12.5 billion a year to entice new smokers and retain current ones ( Many of these marketing attempts reach individuals who are not of legal age to buy cigarettes. For example, 34.1% of middle school students and 39.2% of high school students reported seeing advertisements for tobacco products on the Internet ( Listed on many of these ‘Big Tobacco’ websites are words of encouragement to quit smoking, however, in 2006, a court found that tobacco companies manipulate nicotine levels to keep smokers addicted ( The manufacturing processes of these same companies have also not seen a decrease in production. Over 6.3 trillion cigarettes will be produced in 2010, equating to more than 900 cigarettes for every man, woman and child in the world (

    The truth campaign has proven to be quite successful. We believe the reason behind the success is because of the compelling manner in which the facts are portrayed. “Seventy-five percent of all 12 to 17 year-olds in the nation – 21 million – can accurately describe one or more of the truth ads (Protect the Truth).” More than 90 percent of them stated the ads were convincing and 85 percent said the ad gave them good reasons not to smoke (Protect the Truth). “From 2000 to 2002, cigarette smoking among high school students fell by more than one million, thanks in large part to the truth (Protect the Truth).” What a huge success; one million people that will be much healthier than they would have otherwise been if they picked up or continued the habit.

    Be it a lack of knowledge or perhaps a lack of concern for the topic, humans are inherently hap-hazard when it comes to decision making. Society as a whole benefits in general from positive nudges, and the appreciable effects that nudges have on people who would not necessarily be able to make an educated decision. As we have described above, the truth campaign is just one of the many examples of acceptable nudges. We have stressed that nudges are suitable if utilized in the correct context. Not only are they there to direct our decisions, but they also inform and educate us to an extent of which we would have never known otherwise. Whether it be the default plan selections on a yearly insurance renewal, the order in which food is presented at a buffet, or blatant in-your-face ads like the truth campaign, nudges lead to a world that is better protected from itself. Far too often emotions way heavy on a decision that should be cold and calculated, nudges allow the choice creator to help guide the masses to the ethically or socially responsible choice.