Nudges—subtle, covert, and often unobtrusive interventions that take advantage of individuals’ mental shortcuts and biases—frequently change the context of people’s choices and in so doing influence individual and societal behavior. They have become fashionable in recent years, and the ability of such phenomena to bring about significant change for relatively little cost has captured the imagination of governments and businesses. One simple yet potent nudge empowered by the status-quo bias that has received increased attention involves default rules which specify the condition imposed on persons when they fail to make a decision or choice. Marketers have used default options successfully for decades within the context of negative option marketing where sellers interpret consumers’ silence or inaction as permission to continue charging them for goods or services. Despite their attractiveness, nudges, defaults, and negative option marketing are controversial issues that require further examination which the authors present in this paper.
Keywords: cueing, nudges, negative option marketing, defaults
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