Ethical Criteria for Health-Promoting Nudges

A Case-by-Case Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Health-promoting nudges have been put into practice by different agents, in different contexts and with different aims. This article formulates a set of criteria that enables a thorough ethical evaluation of such nudges. As such, it bridges the gap between the abstract, theoretical debates among academics and the actual behavioral interventions being implemented in practice. The criteria are derived from arguments against nudges, which allegedly disrespect nudgees, as these would impose values on nudgees and/or violate their rationality and autonomy. Instead of interpreting these objections as knock-down arguments, I take them as expressing legitimate worries that can often be addressed. I analyze six prototypical nudge cases, such as Google's rearrangement of fridges and the use of defaults in organ donation registration. I show how the ethical criteria listed are satisfied by most-but not all-nudges in most-but not all-circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalThe American journal of bioethics
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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health
organ donation
search engine
rationality
autonomy
evaluation
Values

Keywords

  • BEHAVIOR
  • CARE
  • PATERNALISM
  • VIEWS
  • autonomy
  • consent
  • ethics
  • legitimacy
  • nudging
  • paternalism

Cite this

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title = "Ethical Criteria for Health-Promoting Nudges: A Case-by-Case Analysis",
abstract = "Health-promoting nudges have been put into practice by different agents, in different contexts and with different aims. This article formulates a set of criteria that enables a thorough ethical evaluation of such nudges. As such, it bridges the gap between the abstract, theoretical debates among academics and the actual behavioral interventions being implemented in practice. The criteria are derived from arguments against nudges, which allegedly disrespect nudgees, as these would impose values on nudgees and/or violate their rationality and autonomy. Instead of interpreting these objections as knock-down arguments, I take them as expressing legitimate worries that can often be addressed. I analyze six prototypical nudge cases, such as Google's rearrangement of fridges and the use of defaults in organ donation registration. I show how the ethical criteria listed are satisfied by most-but not all-nudges in most-but not all-circumstances.",
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Ethical Criteria for Health-Promoting Nudges : A Case-by-Case Analysis. / Engelen, Bart.

In: The American journal of bioethics, Vol. 19, No. 5, 2019, p. 48-59.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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