Recently Richard Thaler featured with the Op. ed. in the New York Times: Making Good Citizenship Fun. In this he mentions the Piano Stairs of Volkswagen sponsored Fun Theory as a prominent example of how government may include positive reinforcement as an effective tool to encourage citizens to engage in civic behavior.
As readers of this blog are likely to have noticed we have our qualms and concerns with the validity of the Piano Stairs of Volkswagen Sponsored Fun Theory as well as with the place of Fun Theory within the nudge approach to behavioral change.
On the first node, there is little evidence of (if any at all), and we have little reason to believe that the piano stairs work outside touristic settings. On the second node, the piano stairs introduces incentives and thus breaks with the definition of a nudge.
Still, in our outreach work (lectures, workshops, etc.) we constantly experience how strongly attracted decision and policy makers are to Fun Theory - even when the arguments are put forth and the missing validity is pointed out....
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