Status Quo BiasOpen Access

Status Quo Bias

We tend to stick with our previous choices, even if the alternatives might be better

Status Quo stops change. It's driven by our desire to be consistent with past actions, by the Sunk Costs that mount and the Loss Aversion that’s hard to overcome.

Samuelson & Zeckhauser (1988). Status quo bias in decision making. Journal of risk and uncertainty.

The study

Setup

850,000 teachers' retirement plans were assessed. Each teacher's main decision was to divide their pension between two funds: one low risk (bonds) and one high risk (stocks). They could switch between the two at no cost.

Results

Results found that despite the massive differences in rates of return between the two funds, only 20% ever switched from their initial fund allocation.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

What's the status quo in your situation?

Build a strategy around identifying and removing the practical and emotional switching costs that are preventing change.

Takeaway image

Make it exciting!

It isn't enough to just remove the barriers. Offer a Contrasting view of the net gain of the change, painting a clear, positive picture with a personalized Goal Prime showing them how their life will be better.

Takeaway image

Make it effortless.

Use Foot In The Door with a Tiny Habit to help users take the first positive step.

Identify and work with a group of 'change-makers'; those with some Authority who are most ready to adopt and embrace change.

Share their positive Stories with others more averse.

Takeaway image

Check your Defaults.

You’re setting them everywhere, sometimes without thinking. These strongly influence the status quo. What new behavioral goal are you looking to foster in your users? Update your defaults to suit.

Takeaway image
Status Quo Bias

Status Quo Bias

We tend to stick with our previous choices, even if the alternatives might be better

Status Quo stops change. It's driven by our desire to be consistent with past actions, by the Sunk Costs that mount and the Loss Aversion that’s hard to overcome.

The study

Setup

850,000 teachers' retirement plans were assessed. Each teacher's main decision was to divide their pension between two funds: one low risk (bonds) and one high risk (stocks). They could switch between the two at no cost.

Results

Results found that despite the massive differences in rates of return between the two funds, only 20% ever switched from their initial fund allocation.

study graph
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Risk Aversion
We don’t like uncertainty and generally stick to what we know

Welcome to a concept that's global and evolutionarily-based.

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• Why all of us are Risk Averse on some level

• How this manifests in our life and work

• Ways / Nuggets to overcome Risk Aversion and make better decisions.

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Risk Aversion
We don’t like uncertainty and generally stick to what we know
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