Choice Architecture

Kaye Beach

April 19, 2011

You have noticed it.  The patronizing, insulting way politicians try to manipulate, distract and re- frame the debate using the tactics on us that we use to manage our children.  If the people seem to be getting a little unruly it might just be that by using these tactics they are inviting an epic battle of the wills.  Most adults will notice and many will not appreciate being treated children.  We are charged with responsibility for our children, the government, on the other hand,  is charged by us.

This is a great article on the issue.


by Jacqueline Otto on February 4, 2011

Libertarian Paternalism. The very name is oxymoronic and deceptive.

Popularized by authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book, Nudge, “libertarian paternalism” is a current buzz-term for policy makers.

Andrew Ferguson writes in The Weekly Standard,

It’s libertarian… because it forswears government mandates wherever possible. It’s paternalistic because it wants government to “nudge” citizens into behaving in ways that policymakers prefer.

The practice is also known as choice architecture and behavioral economics.

This concept is especially relevant since President Obama is a self-professed supporter of behavior economics. And one of it’s most prominent legal theorists, Cass Sunstein, is the director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget. It is important to understand that under the Obama administration, we are all being subjected to choice architecture and libertarian paternalism.

It starts with a faulty premise. As the Institute for Government states in their report, Mindspace,

Influencing people’s behaviour is nothing new to Government, which has often used tools such as legislation, regulation or taxation to achieve desired policy outcomes. But many of the biggest policy challenges we are now facing – such as the increase in people with chronic health conditions – will only be resolved if we are successful in persuading people to change their behaviour, their lifestyles or their existing habits.

Gone is the notion of a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Now government is persuading the people.

Read more


One response to “Choice Architecture

  1. Well they are not persuading or nudging me…

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