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Nudging in Singapore: Current Implementation in Three Key Areas

Benjamin H. Detenber

Journal of Asian Economic Integration, 2021, vol. 3, issue 1, 74-92

Abstract: The city state of Singapore has a long history of social engineering efforts, yet only recently have social scientists and civil servants started to use behavioural insights (BI) to create ‘nudges’ and integrate them into the daily lives of citizens. Colloquially known as a nanny state for its extensive social programmes and sometimes heavy-handed approach to guiding social behaviour, Singapore is often regarded favourably by its neighbours in terms of its cleanliness, efficiency, and productivity. Yet how it manages its populace and the restrictions it imposes on unwanted behaviours are sometimes viewed sceptically by others in Asia and the West. Thus, many in the Singapore Civil Service have come to see nudging as a less coercive way to promote social welfare and well-being. This article reviews some of the latest actions in three areas: finance, health, and the environment. In discussing the range of nudging practices, their effectiveness will be assessed and some of the implications for society and individuals will be addressed. To the extent that Singapore can be considered a bellwether or harbinger, its use of nudges may offer a glimpse of what lies ahead for other countries in the region. JEL codes : E70, O35

Keywords: Behavioural economics; behavioural insights (BI); civil service; intervention; campaign (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/2631684620982776

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