How do I become a behavioral economist

Behavioral Economics and Nudging in Health Promotion and Prevention

Behavioral Economics and Lifestyle

Individual behavior plays an important role in health: diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or chronic back pain are often caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, such as a lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, etc. An important reason for this is that people in everyday life do not make a lot of smaller and larger decisions completely rationally. And often things have to be done quickly. Preferences such as short-term advantages then prevail and influence our decisions - despite all good intentions.

The context in which we make a decision plays an important role: If the everyday environment is designed to be health-promoting, e.g. with clearly visible and attractive stairs, it is easier to make healthy choices in everyday life. This can lead to the fact that “healthy” decisions are even made intuitively - without really having to think about them. Social and psychological factors play a decisive and often underestimated role.

For this reason, the FOPH has had key findings from the field of behavioral economics processed by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) - for health promotion and the prevention of noncommunicable diseases. In cooperation with the company FehrAdvice & Partners AG, the BAG has also developed the behavioral economic guidelines for projects and measures, which can also be used as a basis for workshops. Behavioral economics (also: behavioral insights) deals with human behavior and can supplement or even optimize proven interventions in the field of health promotion and prevention.


Nudging (from English to nudge for nudge) can be understood as a sub-area of ​​behavioral economics. Nudges work by making certain behavior more attractive or more visible. They work best when the awareness or the intention for the behavior is already present and can therefore support you in implementing good resolutions in everyday life. Nudges do not contain any compulsion and no binding rules of conduct. An example: