Big Data & Nudging – Regulation by Big Data and Behavioural Sciences

In recent years, the possible intersections of “big data” and “nudging” (as well as related instruments) increasingly have attracted attention from different scientific disciplines. The debate is focusing especially on the possibility to use instruments of big data-based behavioural regulation to dynamically target particular individuals or groups.

The interdisciplinary research project Big Data & Nudging brings together perspectives from the social sciences, economics, informatics, and legal science in order to assess how individual instruments of big data-based behavioural regulation can be categorized, which implications these instruments have on the individual as well as on society, and whether and to what extent these instruments can be put to use in a legal as well as legitimate way.

The research project aims at bringing together the fragmented discussions on big data-driven behavioural regulation, relating the results of these debates to each other and thus identifying both new research questions and needs for political action. To this end, a conceptual framework is developed first which is used to classify and characterise the instruments, both in existence and under discussion, of big data-driven behavioural regulation. Based on this mapping, the individual and societal impacts of these instruments are determined, followed by a thorough legal assessment of their practical application. In addition, the project will establish criteria for determining the legitimacy of big data-driven behavioural regulation. The results will then be used to formulate recommendations for a regulatory framework, propose ways of public political outreach and research policy.

Laufzeit10/2017 – 06/2018
FördererThe Project Big Data & Nudging is a contractor of “ABIDA – Assessing Big Data”, a BMBF-funded research cluster.
Research Team
Conference contribution and other activities
Research Team


Other publications

Grafenstein, M. v., Hölzel, J., Irgmaier, F. & Pohle, J. (2018). Nudging: Regulierung durch Big Data und Verhaltenswissenschaften. Publication details

Prinz, D. (2018). Nudging im digitalen Zeitalter. Publication details

Conference contribution and other activities

Lectures and presentations

Introduction to Big Data and Nudging: Preliminary Findings
Nudging and Digital Platforms. Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany: 10.01.2018

Florian Irgmaier

Organisation of events

Workshop: Nudging and Digital Platforms
with attending Vip: Maximilian Mayer. 10.01.2018. Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany (International)

Florian Irgmaier, Maximilian von Grafenstein, Jörg Pohle