From Sunday's nudge article in the NY times:
One example of that phenomenon involved getting people to insulate their attics. Successive governments had tried, offering generous subsidies. But only a tiny number of people put their hands up. Economists were baffled.
In 2011, the nudge unit started brainstorming. At the time, Groupon was all the rage, and one idea that the team liked was offering group discounts for neighbors who jointly committed to put in insulation. The more people someone recruited, the bigger the discount.
“It seemed a perfect way to mobilize green-minded citizens,” said Samuel Nguyen, an economist involved in the effort. And it seemed in line with the behavioral insight that people respond to peer pressure. The trial, however, produced no effect.
The group went back to the drawing board. Mr. Halpern remembered the chief executive of an energy company telling him over dinner that people resisted insulation because it meant cleaning up accumulated piles of junk in their attics. A couple of weeks later, Mr. Nguyen came into the office with a photograph of his mother’s cluttered attic. “This time we were onto something,” Mr. Halpern recalled.
When the nudge unit offered loft-clearing services with the help of B&Q, a home-improvement store, the share of households that agreed to insulate jumped.
“The presumption in the energy department had been that you just have to make the subsidy bigger,” Mr. Halpern said. “Actually, you didn’t. When you helped people clear their loft — even though they had to pay for the service — there was a 4.8-fold increase in uptake.”
Personally, I would need the services of Matt Paxton and Dr. Zasio to nudge my sorry self to clear out the storage.