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The Choice Architecture of Choice Architecture: Toward a Non-paternalistic Nudge Policy

Author

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  • David Colander

    ()

  • Andrew Qi Lin Chong

Abstract

The paper seeks to recast the goal of nudge policy from a goal of achieving a specific result determined by government or by behavioral economists to a goal of giving individuals as much power as is practical to decide the choice architecture they face. We call a nudge with such a giving individuals “power over choice mechanisms” goal a non-paternalistic nudge policy. The goal of non-paternalistic nudge policy is not to achieve a better result as seen by government or by behavioral economists. The goal of non-paternalistic nudge policy is to achieve a better result as seen by the agents being nudged as revealed through their choices of choice architectures. We argue that non-paternalistic nudge policy fits much better with the values inherent in Classical liberalism than does libertarian paternalistic nudge policy.

Suggested Citation

  • David Colander & Andrew Qi Lin Chong, 2010. "The Choice Architecture of Choice Architecture: Toward a Non-paternalistic Nudge Policy," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 1036, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:1036
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    File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/1036.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2008. "How are preferences revealed?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1787-1794, August.
    2. Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
    3. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Optimal Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 180-185, May.
    4. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    libertarian; paternalism; nudge policy; choice architecture; behavioral economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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