According to Thaler and Sunstein (2008, p. 6), a nudge is: any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting the fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.
Perhaps the most frequently mentioned nudge is the setting of defaults, which are pre-set courses of action that take effect if nothing is specified by the decision-maker. This type of nudge, which works with a human tendency for inaction, appears to be particularly successful, as people may stick with a choice for many years (Gill, 2018).
Questions about the theoretical and practical value of nudging have been explored (Kosters & Van der Heijden, 2015) with respect to their ability to produce lasting behavior change (Frey & Rogers, 2014), as well as their assumptions of irrationality and lack of agency (Gigerenzer, 2015). There may also be limits to nudging due to non-cognitive constraints and population differences, such as a lack of financial resources if nudges are designed to increase savings (Loibl et al., 2016). Limits in the application of nudges speak to the value of experimentation in order to test behavioral interventions prior to their implementation.
Source: Behavioral Economics