Choice Architect

It's Time to Nudge our Employees

The science of behavioral economics is readily available for deployment in the workplace.   If we play a role in the health and retirement options available to our employees, we are "Choice Architects".   Listen to Professor Thaler describe the concept of "Nudge" and what it means to be a "Choice Architect". Since Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness exploded onto the scene this summer, politicians in the United States and United Kingdom have embraced the book's belief that with a gentle guidance from designers, employers, or even the government, people can make better decisions independently. The work of coauthors Richard Thaler, the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics in the Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Cass Sunstein, the Harry Kalven Jr. Visiting Law Professor, has become part of the political conversation around the world, finding allies on all sides of the political spectrum.

The key may be that the central idea in Nudge does not fall neatly into any political camp. Instead, it requires what Thaler calls "libertarian paternalism," a phrase that, he admits, sounds like an oxymoron. "By 'libertarianism,' we mean protecting people's right to choose," Thaler says. "By 'paternalism,' we mean caring about people's outcomes. We want to devise policies that will make people better off–choices that they themselves think are better."

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Source:   University of Chicago - Graduate School of Business (P. Houlihan)