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Simon Hedlin

Other affiliations: Columbia University
Bio: Simon Hedlin is an academic researcher from Harvard University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Sex trafficking & Parental leave. The author has an hindex of 2, co-authored 5 publications receiving 51 citations. Previous affiliations of Simon Hedlin include Columbia University.

Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors report that forcing participants to make an active choice between a green energy provider and a standard energy provider led to higher enrollment in the green program than did either green energy defaults or standard energy defaults, but only when green energy cost extra, which suggests reactance towards green defaults when enrollment means additional private costs.
Abstract: Many officials have been considering whether it is possible or desirable to use choice architecture to increase use of environmentally friendly (“green”) products and activities. The right approach could produce significant environmental benefits, including large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and better air quality. This Article presents new data from an online experiment (N=1,245) in which participants were asked questions about hypothetical green energy programs. The central finding is that active choosing had larger effects than green energy defaults (automatic enrollment in green energy), apparently because of the interaction between people’s feelings of guilt and their feelings of reactance. This finding is driven principally by the fact that when green energy costs more, there is a significant increase in opt-outs from green defaults, whereas with active choosing, green energy retains considerable appeal even when it costs more.More specifically, we report four principal findings. First, forcing participants to make an active choice between a green energy provider and a standard energy provider led to higher enrollment in the green program than did either green energy defaults or standard energy defaults. Second, active choosing caused participants to feel more guilty about not enrolling in the green energy program than did either green energy defaults or standard energy defaults; the level of guilt was positively related to the probability of enrolling. Third, respondents were less likely to approve of the green energy default than of the standard energy default, but only when green energy cost extra, which suggests reactance towards green defaults when enrollment means additional private costs. Fourth, respondents appeared to have inferred that green energy automatically would come at a higher cost and/or be of worse quality than less environmentally friendly energy. These findings raise important questions both for future research and for policymaking. If they reflect real-world behavior, they suggest the potentially large effects of active choosing — perhaps larger, in some cases, than those of green energy defaults.

32 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors report that forcing participants to make an active choice between a green energy provider and a standard energy provider led to higher enrollment in the green program than did either green energy defaults or standard energy defaults, but only when green energy cost extra, which suggests reactance towards green defaults when enrollment means additional private costs.
Abstract: Many officials have been considering whether it is possible or desirable to use choice architecture to increase use of environmentally friendly (“green”) products and activities. The right approach could produce significant environmental benefits, including large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and better air quality. This Article presents new data from an online experiment (N=1,245) in which participants were asked questions about hypothetical green energy programs. The central finding is that active choosing had larger effects than green energy defaults (automatic enrollment in green energy), apparently because of the interaction between people’s feelings of guilt and their feelings of reactance. This finding is driven principally by the fact that when green energy costs more, there is a significant increase in opt-outs from green defaults, whereas with active choosing, green energy retains considerable appeal even when it costs more.More specifically, we report four principal findings. First, forcing participants to make an active choice between a green energy provider and a standard energy provider led to higher enrollment in the green program than did either green energy defaults or standard energy defaults. Second, active choosing caused participants to feel more guilty about not enrolling in the green energy program than did either green energy defaults or standard energy defaults; the level of guilt was positively related to the probability of enrolling. Third, respondents were less likely to approve of the green energy default than of the standard energy default, but only when green energy cost extra, which suggests reactance towards green defaults when enrollment means additional private costs. Fourth, respondents appeared to have inferred that green energy automatically would come at a higher cost and/or be of worse quality than less environmentally friendly energy. These findings raise important questions both for future research and for policymaking. If they reflect real-world behavior, they suggest the potentially large effects of active choosing — perhaps larger, in some cases, than those of green energy defaults.

22 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: In Sweden, close to 90% of Swedish fathers take paternity leave and women take even more leave days to spend time with their children, but the gap is shrinking. as discussed by the authors found that some 340,000 dads took a total of 12 million days' leave, equivalent to about seven weeks each.
Abstract: Close to 90% of Swedish fathers take paternity leave. In 2013, some 340,000 dads took a total of 12 million days’ leave, equivalent to about seven weeks each. Women take even more leave days to spend time with their children, but the gap is shrinking. Why do Swedish dads take so much time off work to raise their children?

1 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Simon Hedlin1
TL;DR: In this paper, the proportional distribution of parental leave days between parents was investigated to investigate how this "parental leave equality" may be related to the parents' subjective well-being, which implies that parents who share the responsibility for childrearing more equally tend to be more satisfied with their lives.
Abstract: This study uses data from Sweden to investigate the proportional distribution of parental leave days between parents and to analyze how this “parental leave equality” may be related to the parents’ subjective well-being. Three results are presented. First, there is no linear relationship between the total share of leave days taken by an individual and that individual’s subjective well-being; in other words, more parental leave is not unequivocally better. Second, and by contrast, there seems to be a significant relationship between parental leave equality and subjective well-being, which implies that parents who share the responsibility for childrearing more equally tend to be more satisfied with their lives. Third, a very simple and tentative analysis of a Swedish parental leave reform suggests that incentivizing parents to share leave days more equally potentially could have improved their subjective well-being.

1 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Simon Hedlin1
TL;DR: The Prostitution Law Index as discussed by the authors measures the effectiveness of different types of prostitution laws and the prevalence of sex and human trafficking across European countries using data that covers 2008-2010 and is based on a very rudimentary framework that analyzes forms of scale, substitution and replacement effects in the market for prostitution.
Abstract: Sex trafficking is a pervasive problem in many parts of the world. This study investigates the relationship between different types of prostitution laws and the prevalence of sex and human trafficking across European countries using data that covers 2008-2010. The Article attempts to make three contributions to the literature.First, it builds on existing theories of the link between the demand for purchased sex and the supply of sex trafficking to create a simple ordinal measure of prostitution laws that better reflects the actual cross-country variation in prostitution laws compared with a binary variable that merely indicates whether prostitution is legal or illegal. The measure is called the Prostitution Law Index and is based on a very rudimentary framework that analyzes forms of scale, substitution, and replacement effects in the market for prostitution. Scale refers to increases in the prevalence of trafficking that are caused by growth in the overall size of the market for prostitution. Substitution refers to when current consumers begin to purchase sex with individuals who voluntarily sell sex rather than with trafficking victims. Replacement refers to when new voluntary sellers of sex enter the market and crowd out trafficking victims. The index ranks prostitution laws across countries on a four-point scale (from 1 to 4) based on expected effectiveness (from least to most effective) in terms of reducing the prevalence of sex trafficking.Second, the study uses a new dataset provided by the European Union to study the relationship between Prostitution Law Index scores and prevalence of sex trafficking. Cross-country analyses suggest that there generally appears to be a negative relationship between a country’s Prostitution Law Index score and the prevalence of trafficking. Greater legislative efforts to reduce scale and to increase substitution and replacement — as captured by a higher score in the index — appear to, on average, be associated with lower levels of sex trafficking.Third, the Article presents a basic Difference-in-Differences analysis — with very limited data and thus with many caveats — that seeks to study the causal impact of Norway’s implementation in 2009 of a set of prostitution laws that made it legal to sell sex, but illegal to buy sex (the category of laws that receives the highest index score). Tentative results suggest that this legal reform may potentially have caused some reduction in the prevalence of trafficking.

1 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors provide a structured overview of the most important contributions to the literature on pro-environmental nudges and, second, offer some critical considerations that may help the practitioner come to an ethically informed assessment of nudges.

213 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors meta-analyzed 19 existing default studies and conducted four new lab experiments to reveal a hidden cost to the near-ubiquitous usage of defaults, whereby pre-selected options can prompt individuals to choose contrary to their preferences because they perceive lower autonomy.
Abstract: When people make a decision that involves a pre-selected option – a default – they are more likely to select it. Due to their effectiveness, defaults have been widely implemented by public and private organizations alike. But are there cases when implementing a default can backfire? More specifically, under which conditions do defaults fail to work? One obvious situation is where the default option does not match the decision-maker’s preference. Less obvious are situations where defaults reduce perceived choice autonomy and decision-makers switch away from a defaulted option even when it matches their preferences. To show the existence of two types of motivations for default-rejection, we meta-analyzed 19 existing default studies and conducted four new lab experiments. Our studies reveal a hidden cost to the near-ubiquitous usage of defaults, whereby pre-selected options can prompt individuals to choose contrary to their preferences because they perceive lower autonomy. We also devise a novel way to deliver default implementations that does not reduce decision-maker’s perceived decision-making autonomy and reduces rates of default-rejection. We conclude with implications for the widespread usage of defaults and policy-making.

190 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Nov 2019
TL;DR: This article conducted a literature search and meta-analysis of the 58 default studies (pooled n = 73,675) that fit their criteria, and found that defaults in consumer domains are more effective and in environmental domains are less effective.
Abstract: When people make decisions with a pre-selected choice option – a ‘default’ – they are more likely to select that option. Because defaults are easy to implement, they constitute one of the most widely employed tools in the choice architecture toolbox. However, to decide when defaults should be used instead of other choice architecture tools, policy-makers must know how effective defaults are and when and why their effectiveness varies. To answer these questions, we conduct a literature search and meta-analysis of the 58 default studies (pooled n = 73,675) that fit our criteria. While our analysis reveals a considerable influence of defaults (d = 0.68, 95% confidence interval = 0.53–0.83), we also discover substantial variation: the majority of default studies find positive effects, but several do not find a significant effect, and two even demonstrate negative effects. To explain this variability, we draw on existing theoretical frameworks to examine the drivers of disparity in effectiveness. Our analysis reveals two factors that partially account for the variability in defaults’ effectiveness. First, we find that defaults in consumer domains are more effective and in environmental domains are less effective. Second, we find that defaults are more effective when they operate through endorsement (defaults that are seen as conveying what the choice architect thinks the decision-maker should do) or endowment (defaults that are seen as reflecting the status quo). We end with a discussion of possible directions for a future research program on defaults, including potential additional moderators, and implications for policy-makers interested in the implementation and evaluation of defaults.

185 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 May 2017
TL;DR: In this article, the authors focus on default rules and argue that some default rules are ineffective, or at least less effective than choice architects hope and expect, and emphasize two reasons for this: strong antecedent preferences on the part of choosers and successful "counternudges" which persuade people to choose in a way that confound the efforts of choice architects.
Abstract: Why are some nudges ineffective, or at least less effective than choice architects hope and expect? Focusing primarily on default rules, this essay emphasizes two reasons for this. The first involves strong antecedent preferences on the part of choosers. The second involves successful “counternudges,” which persuade people to choose in a way that confounds the efforts of choice architects. Nudges might also be ineffective, and less effective than expected, for five other reasons: (1) some nudges produce confusion in the target audience; (2) some nudges have only short-term effects; (3) some nudges produce “reactance” (though this appears to be rare); (4) some nudges are based on an inaccurate (though initially plausible) understanding on the part of choice architects of what kinds of choice architecture will move people in particular contexts; and (5) some nudges produce compensating behavior, resulting in no net effect. When a nudge turns out to be insufficiently effective, choice architects have three potential responses: (1) do nothing; (2) nudge better (or differently); and (3) fortify the effects of the nudge, perhaps through counter-counternudges, or perhaps through incentives, mandates, or bans.

154 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors show that exposure to a green energy nudge diminishes support for carbon taxes, by minimizing the perceived economic cost of the tax and disclosing the small impact of the nudge.
Abstract: A carbon tax is widely accepted as the most effective policy for curbing carbon emissions but is controversial because it imposes costs on consumers. An alternative, ‘nudge,’ approach promises smaller benefits but with much lower costs. However, nudges aimed at reducing carbon emissions could have a pernicious indirect effect if they offer the promise of a ‘quick fix’ and thereby undermine support for policies of greater impact. Across six experiments, including one conducted with individuals involved in policymaking, we show that introducing a green energy default nudge diminishes support for a carbon tax. We propose that nudges decrease support for substantive policies by providing false hope that problems can be tackled without imposing considerable costs. Consistent with this account, we show that by minimizing the perceived economic cost of the tax and disclosing the small impact of the nudge, eliminates crowding-out without diminishing support for the nudge. Behavioural interventions aimed at curbing carbon emissions are inexpensive and easy to implement but can offer the false promise of a quick fix. Across six experiments, the authors show that exposure to a green energy nudge diminishes support for carbon taxes.

137 citations