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The Choice Architecture of Choice Architecture: Toward a Nonpaternalistic Nudge Policy

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Abstract

This The goal of nudge policy is generally presented as assisting people in finding their “true” preferences. Supporters argue that nudge policies meet a libertarian paternalism criterion. This claim has provoked complaints that nudge policies are unacceptably paternalistic. This paper suggests that by changing the explicit goal of nudge policy to a goal of making the choice of choice mechanism an explicit decision variable of the subgroup being affected by the nudge one can have a non-paternalistic nudge policy that better fits with the values inherent in Classical liberalism. The goal of non-paternalistic nudge policy is not to achieve a better result as seen by government or by behavioral economists. The goal of non-paternalistic nudge policy is to achieve a better result as seen by the agents being nudged as revealed through their choices of choice mechanisms. Examples are given of how nonpaternalistic nudge policy will and will not differ from paternalistic nudge policy.

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