Each week I’ll take a quick look at three real-world nudges. This week I
look at Greece’s referendum ballot design, a helpful reminder from Porter
Airlines, and stairs that push individuals to exercise.
On July 5, Greece’s public voted on bailout conditions proposed by the EU and the IMF. The ballot placed a ‘No’ before a ‘Yes,’ which is largely unprecedented for a referendum. ABBC article quoted an expert on electoral reform, stating that the format of the ballot is “unusual.” Could placing the ‘No’ first actually affect the way individuals voted?
There’s no way to know, since it wasn’t tested in this context (missed opportunity for behavioralists!), but the Greek public ended up voting ‘No’ with 61% of the vote. Read about the behavioral implications of this ballot’s design from Jon Jachimowicz and Sam McNerney here.
And for some more nefarious uses of nudging in ballot design, check out Chile’s 1978 referendum on the approval of its President’s policies (‘yes’ is higher and coupled with Chile’s flag), or Germany’s 1938 ballot on unification of Austria and Germany and approval of Hitler (which provided a large ‘yes’ and a small ‘no’).