Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(3), 202-212; doi:10.3390/bs4030202
Communication

Attitudes and Defaults Save Lives and Protect the Environment Jointly and Compensatorily: Understanding the Behavioral Efficacy of Nudges and Other Structural Interventions

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Received: 19 May 2014; in revised form: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 17 July 2014
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: A better understanding of when and why nudges (e.g., defaults, visibility or accessibility alterations) and other structural behavior-change measures work or fail can help avoid subsequent surprises such as unexpected political opposition. In this paper, we challenge the unilateral focus on structural interventions—which seemingly control people's behavioral decisions—as such a focus ignores the flipside—namely, attitudes or, as they are called in economics, preferences. We argue for a conceptual understanding of individual behavior that views personal attitudes and behavioral costs as its two separate compensatorily effective determinants. This classical understanding was reintroduced into attitude research as the Campbell paradigm. In the logic of the Campbell paradigm, a person's attitude becomes obvious in the face of the behavioral costs the person surmounts. Technically, individual attitudes reveal themselves in a set of cost-dependent transitively ordered performances. Behavioral costs in turn reflect the structural boundary conditions that are relevant as obstructive and/or supportive environmental forces that generically affect a specific behavior. So far, our research on people’s attitudes toward environmental protection has demonstrated that the Campbell paradigm—and thus its conceptual account of individual behavior—holds true for approximately 95% of the people in a given society.
Keywords: environmental attitudes; conservation (ecological behavior); nudges; behavioral change; structural interventions; Campbell paradigm
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kaiser, F.G.; Arnold, O.; Otto, S. Attitudes and Defaults Save Lives and Protect the Environment Jointly and Compensatorily: Understanding the Behavioral Efficacy of Nudges and Other Structural Interventions. Behav. Sci. 2014, 4, 202-212.

AMA Style

Kaiser FG, Arnold O, Otto S. Attitudes and Defaults Save Lives and Protect the Environment Jointly and Compensatorily: Understanding the Behavioral Efficacy of Nudges and Other Structural Interventions. Behavioral Sciences. 2014; 4(3):202-212.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kaiser, Florian G.; Arnold, Oliver; Otto, Siegmar. 2014. "Attitudes and Defaults Save Lives and Protect the Environment Jointly and Compensatorily: Understanding the Behavioral Efficacy of Nudges and Other Structural Interventions." Behav. Sci. 4, no. 3: 202-212.

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