In Defense of 'Nudging': When the Government Nudges, Everyone Wins

October 29, 2014 4:33 PM

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In Defense of 'Nudging': When the Government Nudges, Everyone Wins

Personal decisions are the leading cause of death. This provocative claim was the result of a rigorous study demonstrating that choices we make regarding diet, smoking, drinking, exercise or lack thereof, drug use, and so on all contribute directly to a host of illnesses and accidents that can lead to death. For example, 46 percent of deaths due to heart disease and 66 percent of cancer deaths are attributable to personal decisions. And when it comes to improving our decisions, academic research and personal experience both make the resounding point that improving knowledge and understanding is not enough to create lasting change.

Though we often know what constitutes healthy behavior and strive to practice it, intentions are only weak predictors of actual behavior. Indeed, we have all been in the position of being unable to muster up the willpower to exercise or refrain from overeating despite knowing the importance of doing...

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