Nudge : Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

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  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/24/2009
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA

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Nudge is about choices - how we make them and how we can make better ones. Authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein offer a new perspective on preventing the countless mistakes we make - including ill-advised personal investments, consumption of unhealthy foods, neglect of our natural resources, and other bad decisions. Citing decades of cutting-edge behavioral science research, they demonstrate that sensible 'choice architecture' can successfully nudge people towards the best decisions without restricting their freedom of choice. Straightforward, informative, and entertaining, this is a must-read for anyone with interest in our individual and collective well-being.

Author Biography

Richard H. Thaler is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and the director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago-'s Graduate School of Business.

Cass R. Sunstein is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. I
Humans and Econs
Biases and Blundersp. 17
Resisting Temptationp. 40
Following the Herdp. 53
When Do We Need a Nudge?p. 74
Choice Architecturep. 83
Save More Tomorrowp. 105
Na´ve Investingp. 120
Credit Marketsp. 134
Privatizing Social Security: Smorgasbord Stylep. 147
Prescription Drugs: Part D for Dauntingp. 161
How to Increase Organ Donationsp. 177
Saving the Planetp. 185
Improving School Choicesp. 201
Should Patients Be Forced to Buy Lottery Tickets?p. 209
Privatizing Marriagep. 217
Extensions and Objections
A Dozen Nudgesp. 231
Objectionsp. 239
The Real Third Wayp. 255
Bonus Chapter: Twenty More Nudgesp. 257
Postscript: November 2008p. 269
Notesp. 272
Bibliographyp. 281
Indexp. 303
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Common "Nudges"

  • The design of menus gets you to eat (and spend) more.For example, lining up all prices on either side of the menu leads many consumers to simply pick the cheapest item. On the other hand, discretely listing prices at the end of food descriptions lets people read about the appetizing options first…; and then see prices.
  • "Flies" in urinals improve, well, aim.When Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport was faced with the not uncommon issue of dirty urinals, they chose a unique solution: by painting "flies" in the (center of) commodes, men obligingly aimed at the insects, reducing spillage by 80 percent.
  • Credit card minimum payments affect repayment schedules.Among those who only partially pay off credit card balances each month, the repayment level is correlated with the card's minimum payment — in other words, the lower the minimum payment, the longer it takes a consumer to pay off the card balance.
  • Automatic savings programs increase savings rate.All over the country, companies are adopting the Save More Tomorrow program: firms offer employees who are not saving very much the option of joining a program in which their saving rates are automatically increased whenever they get a raise. This plan has more than tripled saving rates in some firms, and is now offered by thousands of employers.
  • "Defaults" can improve rates of organ donation.In the United States, about one–third of citizens have signed organ donor cards. Compare this to Austria, where 99 percent of people are potential organ donors. One obvious difference? Americans must explicitly consent to become organ donors (by signing forms, for example) while Austrians must opt out if they do not want to be organ donors.
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