Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nudging to reduce road accidents

Via Freakonomics from Karan Talwar, an innovative "nudge" to reduce accidents on the hairpin curves of the road leading to Shimla

"The local and state governments had mandated several traffic signs along the winding highways, but this did not have any effect on the accident rates. Drivers either did not see them or ignored them and the mishaps continued... local governments... started building temple shrines at spots that were accident prone... Even though the average Indian has no respect for traffic laws and signs, they will slow down before any place of worship and take a moment to ask for blessings!"

The idea behind this cute little "nudge" may have utility elsewhere. Displaying the photos of gods at important loactions can help control undesirable behaviours - like putting tiles with such photos to prevent spitting at certain locations (most often on room corners), pasting photos of gods on tables to dissuade cheating in examinations etc. Taking such nudges to its logical conclusion - will disbursing welfare benefits (say pensions or NREGS wages) within temple premises, in front of the god (say, during puja times!!), reduce the pilferage by way of withholding transfers?

1 comment:

sobhan said...

sir you posted in your blog about displaying god photos on roads its a good idea but how far it succeeds?