As Coronavirus spreads widely, people are asked to keep distance from others. The Straits Times posted a photo showing that visitors at an Indonesian shopping mall stand on boxes inside an elevator.
Another simple visual nudge was found in Seoul, Korea. The elevator floor was divided into nine squares. A single pair of foot prints was painted inside each square, suggesting only nine people in total were asked to ride an elevator.
It was not long before that I had thought floor signage could not change our behavior because we learned rules naturally. At that time, a yellow-painted footstep in Singapore and an orange-colored line in Shenzhen failed to correct our learned rules. However, Corona virus is now changing my thought: floor signage changes our behavior.
Governments are increasingly adopting behavioral science techniques for changing individual behavior in pursuit of policy objectives. The types of “nudge” interventions that governments are now adopting alter people’s decisions without coercion or significant changes to economic incentives. We calculated ratios of impact to cost for nudge interventions and for traditional policy tools, such as tax incentives and other financial inducements, and we found that nudge interventions often compare favorably with traditional interventions. We conclude that nudging is a valuable approach that should be used more often in conjunction with traditional policies, but more calculations are needed to determine the relative effectiveness of nudging.