Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The book Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein was an interesting read. The whole idea of the book was about the choices people make and how we are led in different ways to make better ones. This book doesn't just tell you that if you are eating unhealthy you should quit doing that and eat healthier foods. Instead it simply exposes people to what is called choice architecture to help boost a certain response to something. Choice architecture basically means the different ways choices can be presented to somebody. A very basic example of choice architecture would be the design of a 4 burner stove top as described in the book. The oven at my house has the nobs in one row above the burners and as dumb as it sounds it always makes me double check to see what electric burner got turned on. Having the nobs positioned in a way that represents burners on the stove top indirectly influences my decision which therefore is an example of choice architecture. Thaler tries to find a common ground between libertarians and paternalists. This works because you can give people the freedom of choice and at the same time structure those choices in a manner that will help them. Thaler states that the golder rule of libertarian paternalism is offer nudges that are most likely to help and least likely to inflict harm.

An example of a clever Nudge i noticed was this past Christmas when i was skiing with my family at a hill in Minnesota called Afton Alps. I grew up snowboarding at this place and always remembered their being cans everywhere while going up the lift. There was a trash at the top but that didn't seem to help much. Since the last time i had been there, which was about 4 years ago, they had put a big trash can under the last lift pole. Instead of people throwing their cans off the lift they would hold on to them and try to make the basket.
This was an easy answer to their on hill trash problem and people enjoyed it at the same time. This is the kind of stuff that nudges are all about.

No comments:

Post a Comment