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Nudge Vs Shove: A Conversation With Richard Thaler

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Richard Thaler is one of the most important behavioral economists in the world. The Nobel Prize laureate has written extensively on behavioral economics, such as how to get people to save more for retirement. His book, with coauthor Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness has sold millions of copies worldwide and influenced governments and companies alike.

The book challenges the notion that humans are absolutely rational in their decision making, a widely accepted model in economics for years. Instead, Thaler and Sunstein show that the decision making process can be heavily influenced for our benefit, sometimes by very small nudges. In the new and final edition of Nudge, they include a lot of new material. One notable concept is called “sludge”, or ways to prevent something from happening by making it incredibly difficult to do. One real world example, according to Thaler, is the American tax filing system.

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