Nudges, norms, or just contagion

Nudges, norms, or just contagion: What explains (non) sustainable behavior? Carolin Zorell has published an article in the journal Sustainability about (non)sustainable choices in a restaurant setting in which she focuses on the importance of the social context for people’s everyday behaviors.

The article takes its starting point in ‘nudging’ and the idea that if people are only provided with the ‘right’ options and contextual arrangements, they will start consuming sustainably. She thereafter challenges this nudging approach with theories highlighting the ‘contagiousness’ of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of reference groups or persons present in a decision-context. Based in the results of a study in a restaurant setting she argues that nudging may sound promising and easily applicable, yet the social dynamics occurring around it can easily distort or even nullify its effects on sustainable behavioral choices.  

Zorell, C.V. Nudges, Norms, or Just Contagion? A Theory on Influences on the Practice of (Non)Sustainable Behavior. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10418. 

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