Societal Well-Being: Embedding Nudges in Sustainable Cultural Practices
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTagliabue M, Sandaker I. Societal Well-Being: Embedding Nudges in Sustainable Cultural Practices. Behavior and Social Issues (BSI). 2019 https://doi.org/10.1007/s42822-019-0002-x
This study provides a behavior analytic framework to a previous nudging experiment from Kalbekken and Sælen (2013). We are concerned with achieving societal wellbeing from a selection of cultures perspective, and we call for increasing synergies between the two fields. The original experiment achieved a 20% reduction in food waste among restaurant customers by implementing two independent nudges: reducing plate size and socially approving multiple servings. We use this experiment as an example to introduce an analysis of the social contingencies (metacontingencies) responsible for not only establishing, but also maintaining, sustainable behavioral repertoires. We show how reducing food waste can be a simple, economic, and effective example of a behavioral intervention when programmed with contingencies of cooperation. Furthermore, we generalize our model to social architectures that create and sustain cultural practices. Namely, our model addresses the long-term effects of nudging as a result of cooperation between stakeholders, and how they are maintained by feedback loops. Whereas the aggregate effect of individual choice behavior can affect food consumption significantly, it may not suffice to change an enduring cultural practice. We argue a behavior analytic approach in studying complex systems informs nudging applications at the policy making level.