Recently, Cass Sunstein, who pioneered ‘Nudge Theory’ along with Nobel Prize winning economist, Richard Thaler, was effusive in his praise for India’s efforts into incorporating behavioural insights in public policy. A new paradigm has been in the making in India, to create impactful yet sustainable policy outcomes by applying behavioural tools in missions like ‘Swachh Bharat’.
Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) has used ‘Prospect Theory’ in Behavioural Economics extensively for driving behavioural change. Prospect Theory predicts that the way choices are framed has a material impact on people’s preferences. It shows that people are loss averse, i.e. people will go greater lengths to avoid a perceived loss than obtaining a perceived benefit, even if the loss and benefit are of equal value. By highlighting the ill effects of poor sanitation and number of deaths it causes through a well-coordinated communication strategy, Swachh Bharat Mission was able to impact behaviours of millions, especially in rural areas.
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