That is a new and excellent volume edited by Sherzod Abdukadirov, with contributions by Mario Rizzo, Adam Thierer, Jodi Beggs, and others. I wrote a short introduction, here is an excerpt from that:
Private sector nudge is highly problematic, and I would say it is often worst in those areas we tend to feel best about: health care, education, and charity. In those cases, our guard is most likely to be let down, even if we are highly educated. Or should I say because we are educated?
What about public sector nudge? Well, the good news is that a lot of what government does is simply send money around through transfer programs. In this regard, its potential for manipulating us is fairly limited. Furthermore, government is extremely bureaucratic and usually it does not have top tier marketing talent. Most of the time I just don’t find my government very persuasive. Is there really anything the DMV can talk me into that I wouldn’t otherwise want to do?
But can I then relax? Can I stop worrying about public sector nudge?
I am not so sure.
The biggest costs in human history come from wars, and very often the public sector — especially the executive branches in various countries — nudges us into wars. I don’t hear enough discussion of this topic in the nudge literature.
Government also has nudged us into believing that more government regulation is the answer to many of our problems…
Finally, I worry about how private sector and public sector nudge interact. Nudges from the television news, and its coverage of crime stories, convince many Americans that rates of crime are rising when in fact they are falling. That’s a private sector nudge to be sure, and the private sector is doing the marketing, with great skill I might add. But how does it interact with the public sector? Well, prosecutors send more people to jail and for longer periods of time.
You can order the book here.