The geographies of policy translationHow nudge became the default policy option

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-69
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
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This paper examines the emergence of libertarian paternalism or 'nudge' as a rationale of government in the UK and charts the way in which this development has been enabled by, and has enabled, a process of policy translation. We examine: the reasons for the emergence of libertarian paternalism in the UK; the processes that have enabled libertarian paternalism to become a significant way of framing policy in the UK for both the New Labour and the Coalition administrations; the way in which this set of policy initiatives has been predicated upon a process of social and spatial embedding that has seen it become interpreted as a meaningful and default solution to a whole host of social ills. We conclude by arguing that there is a need to appreciate both the political malleability of libertarian paternalism as a concept and the complex geographies that have enabled it to assume political significance in the UK.


  • policy translation, policy transfer, libertarian paternalism, UK