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This timely book makes a forceful argument that the analyses from behavioral economists are incomplete, the policies advocated by libertarian paternalists are misguided and unethical, and both actually reinforce the cognitive biases and dysfunctions that motivate 'nudges' in the first place. In a lighthearted manner, the author points out critical flaws in the way economists model decision-making, how behavioral economics failed to correct them, and how they led to the problems with libertarian paternalism and nudges. Sprinkled throughout with anecdotes, examples, and references to a wide range of scholarly literature, this new volume argues against the use of paternalistic nudges by the government and makes a positive case for individual choice and autonomy. This book is part of White's triptych on individualism and society, which includes The Illusion of Well-Being and The Decline of the Individual.
Dr. Mark D. White explains the informational, ethical, and practical problems faced by libertarian paternalism and 'nudges,' by which the government subtly influences people's choices for their own good, in his exciting new volume The Manipulation of Choice. In a lighthearted manner, the author points out critical flaws in the way economists model decision-making, how behavioral economics failed to correct them, and how they led to the problems with libertarian paternalism and nudges. Sprinkled throughout with anecdotes, examples, and references to a wide range of scholarly literature, this new volume argues against the use of paternalistic nudges by the government and makes a positive case for individual choice and autonomy.
Every day we make decisions: about the things that we buy or the meals we eat; about the investments we make or our children's health and education; even the causes that we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. We are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions that make us poorer, less healthy and less happy. And, as Thaler and Sunstein show, no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way. By knowing how people think, we can make it easier for them to choose what is best for them, their families and society. Using dozens of eye-opening examples the authors demonstrate how to nudge us in the right directions, without restricting our freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new way of looking at the world for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging, provocative and important books you will ever read.
Should the government influence or coerce us for our 'own good'? This volume discusses specific applications in policy and law.
Incentives can be found everywhere--in schools, businesses, factories, and government--influencing people's choices about almost everything, from financial decisions and tobacco use to exercise and child rearing. So long as people have a choice, incentives seem innocuous. But Strings Attached demonstrates that when incentives are viewed as a kind of power rather than as a form of exchange, many ethical questions arise: How do incentives affect character and institutional culture? Can incentives be manipulative or exploitative, even if people are free to refuse them? What are the responsibilities of the powerful in using incentives? Ruth Grant shows that, like all other forms of power, incentives can be subject to abuse, and she identifies their legitimate and illegitimate uses. Grant offers a history of the growth of incentives in early twentieth-century America, identifies standards for judging incentives, and examines incentives in four areas--plea bargaining, recruiting medical research subjects, International Monetary Fund loan conditions, and motivating students. In every case, the analysis of incentives in terms of power yields strikingly different and more complex judgments than an analysis that views incentives as trades, in which the desired behavior is freely exchanged for the incentives offered. Challenging the role and function of incentives in a democracy, Strings Attached questions whether the penchant for constant incentivizing undermines active, autonomous citizenship. Readers of this book are sure to view the ethics of incentives in a new light.
In The Ethics of Influence, Cass R. Sunstein investigates the ethical issues surrounding government nudges, choice architecture, and mandates.
Behavioural sciences help refine our understanding of human decision-making. Their insights are immensely relevant for policy-making since public intervention works much better when it targets real people rather than imaginary beings assumed to be perfectly rational. Increasingly, governments around the world are keen to rely on those insights for reshaping public interventions in a wide range of policy areas such as energy, health, financial services and data protection. When policy-making meets behavioural sciences, effective and low-cost regulations can emerge in the form of default rules, smart disclosure and simplification requirements. While behaviourally-informed intervention has a huge potential for policymaking, it also attracts legitimacy and practicability concerns. Nudge and the Law takes a European perspective on those issues and explores the legal implications of the emergent phenomenon of behavioural regulation by focusing on the challenges and opportunities it may offer to EU policy-making and beyond.

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