Nudging in times of an environmental crisis - An assessment of the moral permissibility of the City of Cape Town's Water Map
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The Water Map is a social norms nudging intervention that was implemented by the municipal government of Cape Town with the aim to reduce residents’ water consumption during a critical drought in the city. The Water Map made public data about the water use of Cape Town’s residents, which raised concerns amongst the residents about privacy and naming and shaming. In this paper, I will assess whether naming and shaming practices were used and whether there was a violation of privacy. Next, I will determine what this means for the moral permissibility of the Water Map. The conclusion from the assessment is that the Water Map was a morally impermissible policy intervention because it violated privacy. This violation of privacy was not justified because it was not based on evidence that showed that a more privacy-respecting social norms nudge would lead to a decrease of the intervention’ s effectiveness. In the last part of the paper, some lessons for the future of social norms nudging are discussed.