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FEATURE6 February 2019

How ‘sludge’ joined our vocabulary

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From pressure selling to hidden add-ons, companies are profiting from people’s innate traits and fallibilities. Crawford Hollingworth reflects on the concept of sludge, looking at what regulators are doing to crack down on the behaviour.

Ten years on from the conceptualisation of ‘nudge’ by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, with the publication of their bestselling book of that title, the word is established in our vocabulary. As an evolutionary development, ‘sludge’ is becoming recognised ...