Beyond Carrots and Sticks: Europeans Support Health Nudges

Lucia A. Reisch, Cass R. Sunstein, Wencke Gwozdz

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

All over the world, nations are using “health nudges” to promote healthier food choices and to reduce the health care costs of obesity and non-communicable diseases. In some circles, the relevant reforms are controversial. On the basis of nationally representative online surveys, we examine whether Europeans favour such nudges. The simplest answer is that majorities in six European nations (Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the UK) do so. We find majority approval for a series of nudges, including educational messages in movie theaters, calorie and warning labels, store placement promoting healthier food, sweet-free supermarket cashiers and meat-free days in cafeterias. At the same time, we find somewhat lower approval rates in Hungary and Denmark. An implication for policymakers is that citizens are highly likely to support health nudges. An implication for further research is the importance of identifying the reasons for cross-national differences, where they exist.
All over the world, nations are using “health nudges” to promote healthier food choices and to reduce the health care costs of obesity and non-communicable diseases. In some circles, the relevant reforms are controversial. On the basis of nationally representative online surveys, we examine whether Europeans favour such nudges. The simplest answer is that majorities in six European nations (Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the UK) do so. We find majority approval for a series of nudges, including educational messages in movie theaters, calorie and warning labels, store placement promoting healthier food, sweet-free supermarket cashiers and meat-free days in cafeterias. At the same time, we find somewhat lower approval rates in Hungary and Denmark. An implication for policymakers is that citizens are highly likely to support health nudges. An implication for further research is the importance of identifying the reasons for cross-national differences, where they exist.
LanguageEnglish
JournalFood Policy
Volume69
Pages1-10
ISSN0306-9192
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2017

Bibliographical note

Published online: 3. February 2017

Keywords

  • Health policy
  • Health nudges
  • Behavioural regulation
  • Acceptability
  • Health defaults

Cite this

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Beyond Carrots and Sticks : Europeans Support Health Nudges. / Reisch, Lucia A.; Sunstein, Cass R.; Gwozdz, Wencke.

In: Food Policy, Vol. 69, 05.2017, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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