Experiments in

Nudge Cartography

We are building a living map to navigate the complexities of nudging behavior change, for use by a growing community of practitioners and academics.





Our research


A policymaker wants to motivate citizens to pay their taxes on time. A product manager wants to motivate customers to sign up for free online support. An HR professional wants to motivate employees to complete an online training. Each decides to send their respective constituents an email. What should their emails say?


Demystifying Nudges

There is a pressing need to understand the efficacy of nudging. Recent critiques have rightly questioned the robustness of past findings about the average effects of nudges, while hundreds of organizations continue to invest in their blanket application. But we cannot answer “do nudges work?” or even “which nudges work when?” without a language to describe and make commensurable the highly heterogeneous studies of our field.


Research Cartography

Research cartography is a promising approach to build such a language, mapping, measuring, exploiting, and exploring between-study variability. Our hope is that the resulting map allows academics and practitioners to navigate the theoretical space of nudging together, enabling a more cumulative and generative science of behavior change.


LISTEN IN: Nudge Cartography leader Linnea Gandhi gives insight into the project and some of the hiccups along the way — along with a great discussion as to why these efforts are trying to be the Google Maps of research.


Our research on Nudge Cartography is made possible by the generous support of Wharton AI Analytics and the President’s PhD Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.

The President’s PhD Initiative

Announced in Fall 2020, the President’s PhD Initiative is a 6-year, $30M initiative to support doctoral education at Penn. Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, the Initiative creates and supports Presidential PhD Fellows drawn from among the most accomplished and diverse doctoral students at or newly recruited to Penn. Each Presidential PhD Fellow receives a three-year fellowship, including summer support and funds to support their research.

Wharton AI Analytics

Analytics at Wharton unites the School’s trail-blazing teaching, research, and industry engagement initiatives that use data to improve decision-making and generate actionable insights. The initiative seeks to accelerate Wharton’s innovations in applying sophisticated analytical tools to solve challenges and leverage the opportunities for business and society generated by the data and technology revolution.

Field Partners

We are especially thankful for the support of our field partners, BeWay and NudgeRio, in the map-building and implementation process.


Team Members


About Us

Nudge Cartography is led by Linnea Gandhi, a Wharton Ph.D. in Operations, Information and Decisions. It is made possible by collaboration with industry partners, consultation with contacts across academia, the expertise of CSSLab researchers, and — above all — the tireless work of our team of dedicated UPenn and UChicago students.


Cartography Leads: Yang Huang, Aravika Khosla, Maatangi Krishna, Ana Pimienta, Ricky Wang

Automation, Modeling, & Experimentation Leads: Yash Agarwal, David Feng, Anoushka Kiyawat, Anna Lamb

Typology Specialists: Nicole Grabel, Mia Shelton, Ricky Wang, Shannon White

Alumni: Akriti, AJ Acacio, Kathryn Ambroze, Anushka Bhansali, Elizabeth Criswell, Mariela Dyer, Sydney Freedman, Ishaan Goel, Chelsey Gonzalez, Grant Harris, Siena Henson, Yao Hung, Palak Jain, Lamrot Jinfessa, Irena Kaplan, Krishleen Kaur Kohli, Elina Konstidinou, Shloka Kumar, Joshua Kurniawan, Andrea Lin, Sara Lopez Marin, Alison Martin, Isabelle Mauboussin, Ellis Morlock, Trisha Nagpal, Vartika Parasramka, Darcie Piechowski, Tianfu (Toby) Ren, Emma Ronzetti, Becky Schmid, Lisa Schreiber, Michelle She, Palashi Singhal, Riya Sirdeshmukh, Brooke Spencer, Xuefei Tan, Jessie Thenarianto, Kwaish Vohra, Wendy Yu, Shuchen Zhang

More to come —

Stay in the Loop

Our research on nudge cartography is ongoing, and this page is still being developed. Check back in to see more, or enter your email to be added to the CSSLab mailing list to stay in the loop.