Nudging leverage points : influencing transformative policy change

Black, Iain and Leventon, Julia and Anderson, Craig; Carrigan, Marylyn and Wells, Victoria and Papadas, Karolos, eds. (2023) Nudging leverage points : influencing transformative policy change. In: Research Handbook on Ethical Consumption. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 251-269. ISBN 9781802202021 (

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For over 50 years governments, businesses and individuals have acted too slowly nor at sufficient scale to address anthropogenic climate change. To provide insight into addressing issues of timing, speed, scale and scope of government action, this chapter examines how behavioural science can be used to design interventions acting at leverage points in a system, points where relatively small-scale changes can lead to deeper systemic transformations. Having introduced Systems Theory, mental model leverage points and existing advice on how to intervene at them, we set out relevant biases, heuristics and choice architecture that can guide understanding and interventions, so that action at these places can be triggered and maintained. This chapter introduces the use of behavioural science at leverage points to ethical and responsible consumption research so addressing how to influence and enact systems change and to reorientate ‘nudge’ toward influencing policy makers as well as being used to design policy.