Jun 13 2013

A Practitioner's Guide to Nudging


There is no shortage of behavioural economics research. A Google search yields more than 4 million hits. But very few behavioural researchers
manage to bridge the gap between what their research finds and how practitioners can put those findings to work in real-life settings. Soman and his colleagues cross that divide. Drawing on their deep knowledge of behavioural economics, they have produced a guide that practitioners can use to reevaluate the way they deliver banking services to their members. Throughout the guide, they use a number of real-world examples—some in financial services, some not—that help illustrate the power of nudges in shaping behaviour.

While the practitioner’s guide is written for a general audience, the authors show how a “decision audit” can be applied to savings behaviour, for example, an area of concern to credit unions and their members and where the evidence is unequivocal: Most people say they want to save more than they actually do and most people, especially as they near retirement, say they wished they’d saved more than they actually did.

The guide aims to convince readers that the audit process can be applied to almost any decision. For credit unions, it could be used to think through the steps that members take when they decide to buy a car, purchase a home, choose a credit card, purchase an insurance policy, or save.

Report Number 303