Why Not All Nudges Work ”In The Wild” | Nina Mazar PhD & Dilip Soman PhD

Read Nudge and you are inspired by how behavioral science works. But how can we translate and scale behavioral science effectively into policies and organizations? Indeed, can all academic research be applied “in the wild”?

Our two guests on this episode, Nina Mazar PhD and Dilip Soman PhD have co-edited a book “Behavioral Science in the Wildthat addresses exactly this. If you’re a practitioner, wanting to apply behavioral science in corporate, non-profit, or governmental work, we think you should check this book out. It’s full of excellent ideas for how to apply behavioral science in the wild!

Nina Mazar is a professor of marketing and co-director of the Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. Her work focuses on topics ranging from ethics to social & environmental impact. She sits on the board of Irrational Labs and belongs to the team of scientists of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at Wharton.

Dilip Soman is a Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science and Economics. His research is in the area of behavioral science and its applications to consumer wellbeing, marketing and policy. Together Nina and Dilip established the Director of the Behavioural Economics in Action Research Centre at Rotman [BEAR], on which Dilip still serves as director.

Our discussion with Nina and Dilip explores the journey of working on their book together and why it’s vital reading for all behavioral scientists. To summarize the discussion, as always, Tim and Kurt end the show with a Grooving Session to recap what we learn about behavioral science in the wild!


(5:04) Welcome to Dilip and Nina with speed round questions.

(10:01) Why do we need a book about applying behavioral science research “in the wild”.

(14:29) Why not all academic research is destined for the practitioner world?

(18:04) Social norms matter but the right reference group is vital.

(21:35) Background variables influence behavioral science in the wild.

(29:27) Speed of testing can be a barrier.

(31:33) Overcoming the issue of scalability.

(35:24) How your time frame can affect output.

(38:55) What to do when you don’t get the results you expect.

(44:07) Don’t get caught shopping in the nudge store.

(45:50) Music choices of Dilip and Nina.

(51:29) Grooving session about behavioral science in the wild.

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves

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AIRDATE: April 17, 2022 EPISODE 289

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Why Not All Nudges Work ”In The Wild” | Nina Mazar PhD & Dilip Soman PhD