New member of our Board of Expertise - Dr. Christina Gravert

Since the beginning of 2016, Christina Gravert has been involved in a research project funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency titled "Nudging for Nature - Does it work?".
The project aims to undertake various nudging projects in collaboration with Swedish institutions and companies.

We are delighted to welcome Christina Gravert to our Board of Expertise!

What nudging project are you working on right now? 
- Everything we do is in the form of so-called field experiments. Up until now, we have conducted an experiment with a restaurant in Gothenburg and one in collaboration with Karlstad municipality. Furthermore, we are working with Gothenburg City on increasing sustainable practices in school kitchens. We are just in the process of starting an experiment in the public transport sector and have some plans to conduct studies in the energy sector. 
 
Why is nudging a motivator for you?
- What I enjoy about working with Nudging is the fact that with a clever design of a decision environment we can increase efficiency and make both individuals and society better off. It surprises me again and again how much can be improved.  I work on not just changing behaviour, but also understanding how this affects society as a whole and whether there are any risks of nudging.
 
How do you measure the effects from a nudge? 
- Randomization is what guarantees that if we observe a difference between a treatment and a control group, that difference must be caused by the treatment and not by other factors that might have affected our outcome independently of our nudge. With this method, we can precisely say how large the effect of the nudge on the desired outcome is, and we can compare different nudges with each other to choose the one that works best.
 
Does nudging have any limits or restrictions? 
- Of course, there are limits to nudging, and it is just one tool in the policy toolkit, but when the nudge reaches enough people, even a small change can have a large effect on society. Since nudges can be implemented by the state, by organizations, by companies and even in private households and the average costs of a nudge are negligible and often only consist out of improving on already established choice architecture, the potential for making a strong impact on sustainable consumption is almost limitless. 
 
What are the future challenges in regards to nudging? 
- To use nudges as a policy tool in an effective way a far more rigorous and systematic analysis is needed. While there is evidence that nudges sometimes work, less is known about why and under what circumstances a nudge will work, in particular in the area of sustainable consumption choices. Most studies on nudging are evaluated only on one desired outcome such as saving water in the household, which potentially gives a limited picture of the effect of the nudge. First of all, individuals could be substituting behaviour between different domains. For example, if water consumption is measured only at home, they could increase water consumption elsewhere. Second, the decrease in water use could have unintended indirect consequences with negative environmental effects, such as using the dishwasher less and start using paper plates or takeaway food.
 
What is needed for the nudges to work? 
- A close collaboration between practitioners and academics is necessary to acquire the knowledge we need to make nudging truly successful. Researchers need firms and public institutions to provide the surrounding for tests, and practitioners need academics to help them design efficient and ethical nudges. With our projects, we want to set good examples for how these collaborations can be successful for both sides and hope to do more of these projects in the future.
 
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