Tag Archives: economics

Book Review: Nudge, by Thaler and Sunstein

Nudge Nudge Wink Wink, Say No More

In Nudge, the behavioral economist Richard Thaler and political scientist Cass Sunstein describe the various ways that people behave irrationally because of the cognitive biases and the seemingly irrelevant contextual cues that influence our choices.  Their solution is what they call “nudging,” or promoting rational choice without limiting one’s choices, through “choice architecture,” the organization and design of choice presentation.  Since human beings’ choices are influenced by seemingly irrelevant environmental circumstances, Thaler and Sunstein see no harm in organizing those environmental circumstances to nudge people to make the best choice, so long as they still have the option of the less good choice.  In discussing Thaler and Sunstein’s book, I’ve divided my comments into three parts: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. read more »

Health Care Reform and Two Freedoms

The health care reform bill has recently been the subject of a ridiculous show called a “health care summit.” The proposed reform is mostly garbage. It does next to nothing to stem the rising costs of health care imposed by the private health insurance system. Even worse, it imposes penalties for not having health insurance; this is the Massachusetts model that is currently failing after only a few years of operation. The reason we supposedly have this wretched bill is because Americans won’t accept “government health care,” despite numerous polls consistently showing large majorities over decades showing that we would, and that we would pay higher taxes for it. read more »