Policy-makers show an increasing interest in ‘nudges’ – behaviorally motivated interventions that steer people in certain directions but maintain freedom of consumer choice. Despite this interest, little evidence has surfaced about which population groups support nudges and nudging. We report the results of nationally representative surveys in Denmark, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Individual, household and geographic characteristics served as predictors of nudge approval, and the count of significant predictors as measures of controversy. Less high approval rates of nudges in Denmark and Hungary were reflected in higher controversy about ‘System 1’ nudges, whereas the United Kingdom and Italy were marked by higher controversy about ‘System 2’ nudges, despite high approval rates. High-controversy nudges tended to be associated with current public policy concerns, for example, meat consumption. The results point to means for effective targeting, and increase knowledge about the types of nudges likely to obtain public support.
Loibl, Cäzilia and Sunstein, Cass R and Rauber, Julius and Reisch, Lucia A, Which Europeans Like Nudges? Approval and Controversy in Four European Countries (January 15, 2018). Forthcoming in Journal of Consumer Affairs.