Project title Sludge: Nudge for evil
Duration  10 weeks

Regulatory agencies around the world have been implementing policies, commonly called “nudges”, to help consumers make better decisions. The effectiveness of such policies has been studied by academics (Sunstein and Thaler, 2008) as well as regulators, such as the Behavioural Insights Units in the UK and Behavioral Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA). On the opposite end, “evil” nudges (coined as “sludges” by Thaler, 2018) have been long used by firms to exploit consumers in markets and prevent them from making good decisions. However, the impacts of these evil nudges are relatively understudied. This project aims to understand experimentally, how competition impacts the effectiveness of sludges and whether consumers can punish firms that use sludges (e.g. consumer boycotts)?

Expected outcomes & deliverables The research student will have an opportunity to design an economics experiment, formulate hypothesis, and gain experience in programming an economics experiment, writing instructions and possibly conducting a pilot experiment.
Student qualities

Open to applications from Economics and Business students with background in microeconomics, or computer science students with some economics background.

Primary supervisor

Dr. Kenan Kalaycı

Further information

Kalaycı, K., 2016. Confusopoly: Competition and obfuscation in markets. Experimental Economics.

Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R., 2008. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.

Thaler, R. H. (2018). Nudge, not sludge., Science  03 Aug 2018:, Vol. 361, Issue 6401, pp. 431