From Regulation to Behaviour Change: Giving Nudge the Third Degree

27 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2014

See all articles by Robert Baldwin

Robert Baldwin

London School of Economics - Law Department

Date Written: November 2014


Behaviour change strategies such as ‘nudge’ have become hugely popular with administrations on both sides of the Atlantic. The practice of nudging, however, raises conceptual and controversial issues which must be addressed in examining the conditions under which nudging can be used effectively and acceptably. A key to a clear conceptual understanding of nudge‐related issues is to distinguish between three degrees of nudge. These three degrees raise different, and identifiable, concerns and it is possible to assess the extent to which these can be responded to in positive terms. The compatibility of nudging with other control devices cannot be assumed and, when contemplating nudging, it is essential to be transparent about its philosophical basis, as well as to be aware that different modes of intervention may operate with clashes of logic that threaten not only effectiveness but also the serving of representative and ethical ends.

Keywords: Regulation, Nudge, Behaviour Change

Suggested Citation

Baldwin, Robert, From Regulation to Behaviour Change: Giving Nudge the Third Degree (November 2014). The Modern Law Review, Vol. 77, Issue 6, pp. 831-857, 2014, Available at SSRN: or

Robert Baldwin (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law Department ( email )

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