Archive for March, 2008

SnūzNLūz: The alarm clock that donates to your least favorite charity

March 31, 2008

“Clocky” is a creative product for helping people overcome a particular self-control problem of waking up on time (we refer to it in chapter 2 of Nudge). With “clocky,” a person can set the number of snooze minutes allowed the next morning. With that number runs out, “clocky” jumps off the night stand and moves around the room making annoying sounds. “Clocky,” as its advertisement claims, “is the alarm clock that runs away and hides to get you out of bed.”

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Do you reuse your hotel towel?

March 29, 2008

Our colleague at Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, Noah Goldstein, has co-penned an excellent study (which we mention in Nudge) in this month’s Journal of Consumer Research. Goldstein and his co-authors manipulated appeals on the shiny information cards we all see in hotel bathrooms reminding us to save the environment by reusing our towels. Some guest were urged to join other “citizens” in reusing their towels and saving the earth. Others were urged to join other “men and women.” Others read a sign that simply told them what percentage of users of the room they were staying in reused their towels. Guess which appeal was most successful?

flying and global warming

March 28, 2008

Smokers are deterred by the warning labels on cigarette packages about health risks. Would warning labels about the effects of airline flights on global warming be as effective? The Institute of Public Policy Research thinks so. In a report, it recommends giving per person emissions data about flights to passengers, along with comparisons of energy consumption for similar trips on alternative transportation, like trains. Given that trains are, in general, more environmentally friendly than airplanes, it’s unlikely that any of the major carriers will want to advertise for their competition, but simple warning labels about airline energy usage might be feasible.

Smoking license

March 28, 2008

The British government has been one of the most enthusiastic and innovative advocates of nudges, and of the more general political philosophy, libertarian paternalism. One proposal currently on the table in the U.K. is a smoking license. The license would cost just 10 pounds – about the same as two packs of cigarettes, depending on the brand – but would require a form “made deliberately complex to deter people from applying,” according to the article. One of the rules of a well-designed nudge is that it should be inexpensive to avoid. Is 10 pounds and a complex form cheap enough for smokers?

Watch out for cyclists

March 25, 2008

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