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Obama’s effort to ‘nudge’ America

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

For the past year, the Obama administration has been running an experiment: Is it possible to make policy more effective by using psychology on citizens?

For the past year, the Obama administration has been running an experiment: Is it possible to make policy more effective by using psychology on citizens?

The nickname is “nudging”—the idea that policymakers can change people’s behavior just by presenting choices or information differently. The classic example is requiring people to opt out of being an organ donor, instead of opting in, when they sign up for a driver’s license. Without any change in rules, the small tweak has boosted the number of registered organ donors in many states.

Nudging has gained a lot of high-profile advocates, including behavioral-law guru Cass Sunstein and former budget czar Peter Orszag. Not everyone likes the idea—“the behaviorists are saying that you, consumer, are stupid,” said Bill Shughart, a professor of public choice at Utah State University—but President Obama was intrigued enough that he actually hired Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard who co-wrote the best-known book about the topic, “Nudge.”

 

See on politico.com



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