On nudging: A review of nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

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This paper reviews the case for libertarian paternalism presented by Thaler and Sunstein in Nudge. Thaler and Sunstein argue that individuals' preferences are often incoherent, making paternalism is unavoidable; however, paternalistic interventions should 'nudge' individuals without restricting their choices, and should nudge them towards what they would have chosen had they not been subject to specific limitations of rationality. I argue that the latter criterion provides inadequate guidance to nudgers. It is inescapably normative, and so allows nudgers' conceptions of well-being to override those of nudgees. Even if nudgees' rationality were unbounded, their revealed preferences might still be incoherent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of the Economics of Business
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Libertarian Paternalism
  • Soft Paternalism
  • Nudging

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