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A Political Justification of Nudging


  • Francesco Guala


  • Luigi Mittone



Nudge policies are typically justified from paternalistic premises: nudges are acceptable if they benefit the individuals who are nudged. A tacit assumption behind this strategy is that the biases of decision that choice architects attempt to eliminate generate costs that are paid mainly by the decision-makers. For example, in the case of intertemporal discounting, the costs of preference reversal are paid by the discounters. We argue that this assumption is unwarranted. In the real world the costs of reversal are often transferred onto other individuals. But if this is the case, the biases create externalities, and nudges are best justified from a political rather than paternalistic standpoint.

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  • Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2013. "A Political Justification of Nudging," CEEL Working Papers 1307, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpce:1307

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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Pietroni & Sibylla Verdi Hughes, 2016. "Nudge to the future: capitalizing on illusory superiority bias to mitigate temporal discounting," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 15(2), pages 247-264, November.

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