The Guardian

How to get people to behave better? Use carrots, not sticks

From recycling clothes to stopping smoking and behaving in public, incentive tickets are making a difference. But are we losing the ability to do good for its own sake?
New apps offer rewards in exchange for recycling old clothes. Photograph: Alamy

It is a shrewd psychological tactic that all parents will be familiar with: instead of berating an errant child for their wrongdoings, focus instead in rewarding them for good behaviour.

Now the idea is catching on outside the nursery, with implications for everything from recycling clothes to policing. Put simply: to get people to do things, throw away those sticks and invest in a prodigious quantity of carrots.

Take the modern phenomenon of : determined to keep prices artificially low for consumers, clothes companies exploit workers and use shoddy materials. The scale and pace of production and distribution is disastrous for the.

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