“Authored by two Univeristy of Chicago heavy-hitters, Economist Richard Thaler and Law Professor Cass Sunstein, Nudge explores the policy implications of behavioral economics, a field describing the irrationalities of human behavior. Taking findings from psychology (e.g. people procrastinate; they’re averse to losing money), Thaler and Sunstein propose policies to help us make the best decisions, in light of our irrational tendencies. In a classic example, they suggest we design 401k plans to require “opting-out” rather than “opting-in,” thus encouraging people to save by default. [...]
Nudge goes beyond psychological research to suggest concrete ways to improve public policy in light of experimental findings.
Humans are bad at long-term planning: but what if cars came with stickers tallying the monthly cost of gas over the next five years: sticker shock might lead buyers to a more efficient car? Or what if we “nudged” people to conserve energy by showing how their energy use stacks up with that of neighbors?”