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An Impossibility Result on Nudging Grounded in the Theory of Intentional Action

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Abstract

The critical literature on nudging lacks a formal, smoking-gun argument against its use. I offer an impossibility result, grounded in the theory of intentional action, that provides such an argument. I prove that if nudges are motivationally irrelevant - as their supporters maintain - any induced choice is unintentional and just reflects the preferences of the choice architect. Autonomy is therefore violated, and nudging proves to be inconsistent with liberal principles at a fundamental level.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergio Beraldo, 2017. "An Impossibility Result on Nudging Grounded in the Theory of Intentional Action," CSEF Working Papers 485, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 30 Sep 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:485
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerardo Infante & Guilhem Lecouteux & Robert Sugden, 2016. "Preference purification and the inner rational agent: a critique of the conventional wisdom of behavioural welfare economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 1-25, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nudging; Manipulation; Autonomy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics

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