In Nudge – Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008) Cass R. Sunstein and Richard Thaler propose to correct cognitive biases via libertarian paternalism (paternalism without coercion). By means of defaults, for example, people can be "nudged" in the desired direction. A textbook example for a default is the objection clause in organ donation according to which every human being is considered to be a donor after death unless explicitly opting out during their lifetime.
Yet who decides which behavior is desired? Does the state have sufficient information for de-biasing? Are there clear-cut boundaries between paternalism, manipulation and indoctrination? To what extent should the state protect human beings from themselves? Will an increase in guidance lead to a decrease in self-reliance? What are the benefits of wrong decisions? What is the role of the legislator?
Participants will explore the theory of Nudging and consider these questions at the 4th Annual Law and Economics Conference: Nudging-Theory and Applications, sponsored by Notre Dame LAMB and the University of Lucerne.
Conference Schedule: Nudging--Theory and Applications