Nudges at Nova SBE
Nova Nudge Club was born as a symbiosis of university students and behavioural economics theory, internalizing distinct externalities of Nova SBE’s environment, the education of excellence, innovative facilities, banks of theoretical resources, as the library, but also practical examples of nudge applications around us every day.
Thus, it seems appropriated to take some critical distance and observe from a distinct perspective, the choice architecture we have been facing throughout our journey in Nova, that may nudge us for the good.
Food for thought
As we enter the modern Pingo Doce & Go in our campus, we can comprehend an uncountable number of behavioural strategies implemented to promote our consumption, either in a general profit-maximizing way or with an ethical and healthy purpose behind it.
One great example is the location of the fruit and plants, right in the middle of the store, before the check-out zone and the leaving doors, in a spot where we are obligated to cross and see to leave the shopping, whether we decide to buy something, or just walk away without any new acquisitions. In this way people will equation the possibility to buy a piece of fruit, maybe instead of buying a not so nutritionally good substitute for alimentation, or just because we think once again about being healthy and usufruct from that little extra incentive to keep on working for our summer body.
The concerns of Nova regarding students and our society go far beyond the Pingo Doce & Go’s Nudges. Our university is also worried about waste and pollution.
It is not hard to identify that Nova has a huge lack of dustbins on the campus, there are rumours that it is easier to pass Calculus I than to find a trash can in the classrooms’ corridors. This does not depend on lack of monetary resources to buy more proper destinations for our waste, instead, it is a strategy to avoid pollution, as people find it harder to discover a place where to drop their garbage, they will think twice, or trice, or even four times before deciding to “make trash”.
Going through a worldwide pandemic, it is not easier to avoid talking about Covid-19 and Nova SBE does not want to ignore the health crisis that we are passing through, thus they combined forces with behavioural science, implementing a Covid-19 preventing nudge on campus. One of the 5 golden rules throughout this pandemic season in our university is to disinfect our hands and tables, either in the classroom, CTT Student Hall, the food court, or any other space where we may find nice places to sit. Nevertheless, there is no rule regarding rubbing our hands with alcohol whenever we enter a distinct corridor. However, as we see alcohol gel dispensators available at every corner and people using them, we not only remember to do it, but we also feel that we should follow the lead of the others to do it, as in non-vocalized peer pressure.
To sum up, we can find practices regarding behavioural economics everywhere around us, motivating decisions we make every day, and our university is not an exceptional place.
Nova SBE is always one step further, compromising to keep on our levels of performance, and excellence in learning, taking advantage of nudge practices that promote our wellbeing, through ingestion of highly nutritionally composed fruits, contribute to the preservation of the environment and health, avoiding pollution and infections, and, I hope also, that help us improve our marvellous GPAs.
Afonso Fortunato – Research Analyst