Failing better

By Erik Angner – Stockholm University
Cass R. Sunstein’s ‘Nudges That Fail’ explores why some nudges work, why some fail, and what should be done in the face of failure. It’s a useful contribution in part because it reminds us that nudging – roughly speaking, the effort to improve people’s welfare by helping them make better choices without interfering with their liberty or autonomy – is harder than it might seem. When people differ in beliefs, values, and preferences, or when they differ in their responses to behavioral interventions, … More Failing better

Much Ado About Nudging

By Richard H. Thaler – University of Chicago
When the editors of this journal asked me to write a commentary on a new paper by George Loewenstein and Nick Chater I did not expect that I would have anything useful to say. After all, I have known George for longer than we would care to admit, and we mostly share similar worldviews. Nonetheless, after reading their paper, and after trying and failing to sort things out in person, I found myself left with enough differences of opinion that it seemed worth writing something up. With one exception … More Much Ado About Nudging

Is There a Role for Stated Preference Values of Statistical Life?

By W. Kip Viscusi Vanderbilt University
This lucid article by Jones-Lee and Aven provides both a compelling defense of the use of a stated preference approach to derive estimates of the value of statistical life (VSL) as well as an examination of the pertinent application of these values. Instead of relying on economists to establish benefit amounts for the VSL, one could delegate this task to policymakers … More Is There a Role for Stated Preference Values of Statistical Life?

A Preference for Safety

By Jonathan Wolff – Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
Jones-Lee and Aven’s paper is a very helpful account of the quantitative cost-benefit approach to safety decision-making as it has developed in the USA and Europe, and of which Jones-Lee has himself been the leading figure in the UK. The paper is a very fair representation of the philosophical and economic rationale for the approach, the methods available for eliciting public values … More A Preference for Safety

Time to move beyond ‘good rules for bad people’

By Martin Lodge – London School of Economics and Political Science
The contribution by Hirshleifer and Teoh directs attention to an often neglected side of the study and practice of behavioural insights: the behavioural biases of the decision-makers, whether they are political or bureaucratic. Not dissimilar to Thaler and colleagues in one of the earlier pieces that set the agenda for the ‘Nudge’ movement … More Time to move beyond ‘good rules for bad people’