Friday, December 22, 2023

Decline and decay of nudges

 Here's the latest paper to suggest that small "nudges" can have much less of a lasting effect than was initially thought.

The Semblance of Success in Nudging Consumers to Pay Down Credit Card Debt  by Benedict Guttman-Kenney, Paul D. Adams, Stefan Hunt, David Laibson, Neil Stewart & Jesse Leary, NBER WORKING PAPER 31926 DOI 10.3386/w31926  December 2023

Abstract: We run a field experiment and a survey experiment to study an active choice nudge. Our nudge is designed to reduce the anchoring of credit card payments to the minimum payment. In our field experiment, the nudge reduces enrollment in Autopaying the minimum from 36.9% to 9.6%. However, the nudge does not reduce credit card debt after seven payment cycles. Nudged cardholders tend to choose Autopay amounts that are only slightly higher than the minimum payment. The nudge lowers Autopay enrollment resulting in increasing missed payments. Finally, the nudge reduces manual payments by cardholders enrolled in Autopay.

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