Presented at the Sydney Behavioural Economics & Behavioural Science Meetup

Today I presented to the Sydney Behavioural Economics & Behavioural Science Meetup group. It is great that this group exists and allows people from different backgrounds – industry, government, and academia – to grab a beer and discuss behavioural science.

My talk was provocatively titled “Nudges vs. Boosts“. Here’s the blurb:

There are many interventions that organizations can use to influence people’s behaviour. One recent distinction is between “nudges” and “boosts”. A nudge (e.g., a default option) is an intervention that shifts behavior by taking advantage of basic cognitive processes and biases (e.g. inertia, procrastination, and loss aversion). Nudges tend to shift behavior in a direction chosen by the organization. In contrast, a boost (e.g., better information) is an intervention that shifts behavior by clarifying the direction an individual should move to achieve personal objectives, which is often accomplished by enhancing an individual’s decision-making competences. Boosts tend to shift people’s behavior in a direction of their own choosing. In this talk, I will contrast a nudge intervention and a boost intervention that were designed to improve people’s decision-making in the context of retirement savings.

We had 95 registrants and I’d guess that more than half turned up despite the poor weather. There were some very good questions – clearly, a clued-in audience. It was also a really fun space to present at in the Pyrmont WeWork space. I am very grateful for the opportunity and look forward to attending some future Meetup events.