Behavioral policies, such as nudges and boosts, are gaining prominence. Such policies are advertised as evidential public policies. Yet, they have significant evidential problems. I analyze an important example of behavioral policy, so-called Incentivized Smoking Cessation Policies. I focus on their evaluation with respect to health inequities. I demonstrate that the evaluations of Incentivized Smoking Cessation Policies can be characterized by a plurality of researchers making use of different kinds of evidence gathering methods. I argue that the evaluation of Incentivized Smoking Cessation Policies’ impact on health inequities can best be accomplished by integrating different evidence gathering methods. More generally, pluralism of evidence gathering methods adds another consideration to the debate about evidential requirements of behavioral policy assessment.

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Keywords Behavioral policies, evidence, inequality, mixed methods, nudge, policy evaluation
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Series VSNU Open Access deal
Journal Journal of Economic Methodology
Çağlar Dede, O. (O.). (2019). Behavioral policies and inequities: the case of incentivized smoking cessation policies. Journal of Economic Methodology. doi:10.1080/1350178X.2019.1625223