Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Chicago Economist Richard Thaler and his colleague Cass Sunstein of Law School have written a new book, "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness". (also see here.)

Using vivid examples from the most ordinary but important aspects of life (like the way to layout different kinds of food in cafeteria, the way to avoid car accident at a sharp turn, etc.), Thaler and Sunstein show that by knowing how people think, we can actually design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. They demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice.

Here is a video lecture from Richard Thaler, talking about the whole idea inside this book. You can also read this review from Harvard Economist Benjamin Friedman.

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