Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-2c279 Total loading time: 0.942 Render date: 2023-01-30T19:22:35.789Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Behavioral Science and Public Policy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2020

Cass R. Sunstein
Harvard University, Massachusetts


Behavioral science is playing an increasing role in public policy, and it is raising new questions about fundamental issues - the role of government, freedom of choice, paternalism, and human welfare. In diverse nations, public officials are using behavioral findings to combat serious problems - poverty, air pollution, highway safety, COVID-19, discrimination, employment, climate change, and occupational health. Exploring theory and practice, this Element attempts to provide one-stop shopping for those who are new to the area and for those who are familiar with it. With reference to nudges, taxes, mandates, and bans, it offers concrete examples of behaviorally informed policies. It also engages the fundamental questions, include the proper analysis of human welfare in light of behavioral findings. It offers a plea for respecting freedom of choice - so long as people's choices are adequately informed and free from behavioral biases.
Get access
Online ISBN: 9781108973144
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication: 12 November 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abaluck, J., & Gruber, J. (2009). Choice Inconsistencies among the Elderly. NBER Working Paper No. 14759. Available at Scholar
Abaluck, J., & Gruber, J. (2013). Evolving Choice Inconsistencies in Choice of Prescription Drug Insurance. NBER Working Paper No. 19163. Available at Scholar
Acland, D. (2018). The Case for Ends Paternalism: Extending Le Grand and New’s Framework for Justification of Government Paternalism. Review of Behavioral Economics, 5(1), 122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Adler, M. (2011). Well-Being and Fair Distribution: Beyond Cost-Benefit Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Afendulis, C., Sinaiko, A. D., & Frank, R. G. (2015). Dominated Choices and Medicare Advantage Enrollment. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 119(C), 7283.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Affordable Care Act. 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Pub. L. No. 111–148, 124 Stat. 119, codified in various sections of Title 42.Google Scholar
Agarwal, S., Chomsisengphet, S., Mahoney, N., & Stroebel, J. (2013). Regulating Consumer Financial Products: Evidence from Credit Cards. NBER Working Paper No. 19484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Akerlof, G., & Dickens, W. (1982). The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance. American Economic Review, 72(3), 307319.Google Scholar
Akerlof, G., & Shiller, R. (2016). Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Allcott, H. (2011a). Consumers’ Perceptions and Misperceptions of Energy Costs. American Economic Review, 101, 98104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allcott, H. (2011b). Social Norms and Energy Conservation. Journal of Public Economics, 95(9–10), 10821095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allcott, H. (2016). Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview. Annual Review of Economics, 8(1), 145176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allcott, H., & Kessler, J. (2019). The Welfare Effects of Nudges: A Case Study of Energy Use Social Comparisons. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 11(1), 236276.Google Scholar
Allcott, H., & Knittel, C. (2019). Are Consumers Poorly Informed about Fuel Economy? Evidence from Two Experiments. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 11(1), 137.Google Scholar
Allcott, H., Lockwood, B. B., & Taubinsky, D. (2019). Should We Tax Sugar-Sweetened Beverages? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33(3), 202227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allcott, H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2015). Regulating Internalities. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 34(3), 698705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Allcott, H., & Taubinsky, D. (2015). Evaluating Behaviorally Motivated Policy: Experimental Evidence from the Light Bulb Market. American Economic Review, 105(8), 25012538.Google Scholar
Bar-Gill, O. (2012). Seduction by Contract: Law, Economics, and Psychology in Consumer Markets. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Behavioural Insights Team. (11 Apr 2014). EAST: Four Simple Ways to Apply Behavioural Insights. Available at Scholar
Benartzi, S., et al. (2017). Should Governments Invest More in Nudging? Psychological Science, 28(8), 10411055.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Benartzi, S., & Thaler, R. H. (2013). Behavioral Economics and the Retirement Savings Crisis. Science, 339(6124), 11521153.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bento, A., Jacobsen, M. R., Knittel, C. R., & van Benthem, A. A. (2019). Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Fuel Economy Standards. NBER Working Paper No. 26309. Available at Scholar
Bernheim, B. D. (2009). Behavioral Welfare Economics. Journal of the European Economic Association, 7(2–3), 267319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernheim, B. D. (2016). The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Unified Approach to Behavioral Welfare Economics. Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, 7(1), 1268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernheim, B. D., Fradkin, A., & Popov, I. (2015). The Welfare Economics of Default Options in 401(k) Plans. NBER Working Paper No. 17587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernheim, B. D., & Rangel, A. (2007). Toward Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics. American Economic Review, 97(2), 464470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernheim, B. D., & Rangel, A. (2009). Beyod Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(1), 51104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernheim, B. D., & Taubinsky, D. (2018). Behavioral Public Economics. In Bernheim, B. D., DellaVigna, S., & Laibson, D. (eds.), Handbook of Behavioral Economics: Foundation and Applications, vol. 1, 381516. Amsterdam: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beshears, J., Choi, J., Laibson, D., & Madrian, B. (2010). The Limitations of Defaults. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from,%20Beshears,%20Choi,%20Laibson,%20Madrian.pdf.Google Scholar
Bettinger, E. P., Long, B. T., Oreopoulos, P., & Sanbonmatsu, L. (2009). The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment. NBER Working Paper No. 15361. Available at Scholar
Bhargava, S., Loewenstein, G., & Sydnor, J. (2015). Do Individuals Make Sensible Health Insurance Decisions? Evidence from a Menu with Dominated Options. NBER Working Paper No. 21160. Available at Scholar
Bhargava, S., Loewenstein, G., & Sydnor, J. (2017). Choose to Lose: Health Plan Choices from a Menu with Dominated Option. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 132(3), 13191372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bollinger, B., Leslie, P., & Sorenson, A. (2010). Calorie Labeling in Chain Restaurants. NBER Working Paper No. 15648. Available at Scholar
Bordalo, P., Gennaioli, N., & Shleifer, A. (2012a). Salience in Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect. American Economic Review, 102(3), 4752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bordalo, P., Gennaioli, N., & Shleifer, A. (2012b). Salience Theory of Choice Under Risk. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127(3), 12431285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradley, S., & Feldman, N. (2020). Hidden Baggage: Behavioral Responses to Changes in Airline Ticket Tax Disclosure. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (forthcoming).Google Scholar
Bronchetti, E. T., Dee, T. S., Huffman, D. B., & Magenheim, E. (2011). When a Nudge Isn’t Enough: Defaults and Saving among Low-Income Tax Filers. NBER Working Paper No. 16887. Available at Scholar
Bronsteen, J., Buccafusco, C., & Masur, J. S. (2013). Well-Being Analysis vs. Cost-Benefit Analysis. Duke Law Journal, 62(8), 16031689.Google Scholar
Brown, J. R. (2007). Rational and Behavioral Perspectives on the Role of Annuities in Retirement Planning. NBER Working Paper No. 13537. Available at Scholar
Brown, J. R., Kling, J. R., Mullainathan, S., & Wrobel, M. V. (2008). Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle. American Economic Review, 98, 304–09.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bubb, R., & Pildes, R. (2014). How Behavioral Economics Trims Its Sails and Why. Harvard Law Review, 127(6), 15931678.Google Scholar
Office, Cabinet (n.d.). The Behavioural Insights Team. Available at Scholar
Carroll, G. D., Choi, J. J., Laibson, D., Madrian, B. C., & Metrick, A. (2009). Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124, 1639–74.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (February 4, 2010). Re: Express Lane Eligibility Option. Available at–4-10%20508%20ready.pdf.Google Scholar
Chetty, R., Friedman, J., Leth-Petersen, S., Nielsen, T., & Olsen, T. (2014). Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowdout in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(3), 11411219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chetty, R., Looney, A., & Kroft, K. (2009). Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence. American Economic Review, 99, 11451177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chiteji, N., & Walker, L. (2009). Strategies to Increase the Retirement Savings of African American Households. In Gale, W. G. et al. (ed.), Automatic, 231260. Harrisburg: R. R. Donnelley.Google Scholar
Act, CLASS 2010. Pub. L. No. 111–148, § 8, 124 Stat. 828, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 300 (2018).Google Scholar
Colin, M., O’Donoghue, T., & Vogelsang, T. (2004). Projection Bias in Catalogue Orders. Unpublished working paper. Cornell University Economics Department.Google Scholar
Conly, S. (2013). Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google ScholarPubMed
Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. Pub. L. No. 111–24, 123 Stat. 1734, codified in various sections of Titles 15 and 16.Google Scholar
Cronqvist, H., Thaler, R., & Yu, F. (2018). When Nudges Are Forever: Inertia in the Swedish Premium Pension Plan. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 108, 153158.Google Scholar
DellaVigna, S., & Malmendier, U. (2006). Paying Not to Go to the Gym. American Economic Review, 96(3), 694719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Department of Agriculture. (2011). Direct Certification and Certification of Homeless, Migrant and Runaway Children for Free School Meals. 76 Fed. Reg. 22,785, 22,793.Google Scholar
Department of Education. (2010a). Program Integrity Issues, 75 Fed. Reg. 66,832, codified in various sections of Title 34 of the C.F.R.Google Scholar
Department of Education. (2010b). Department of Education Establishes New Student Aid Rules to Protect Borrowers and Taxpayers. Retrieved from Scholar
Department of the Treasury. (December 4, 2009). TARP Transactions Data: Asset Guarantee Program. Retrieved from Scholar
Dinner, I., Johnson, E. J., Goldstein, D. G., & Liu, K. (2011). Partitioning Default Effects: Why People Choose Not to Choose. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 17(4), 332.Google ScholarPubMed
Dodd-Frank Act 2010. 12 U.S.C. § 5511.Google Scholar
Dolan, P. (2014). Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think. New York: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
Downs, J. S., Loewenstein, G., & Wisdom, J. (2009). Strategies for Promoting Healthier Food Choices. American Economic Review, 99(2), 159164.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dunn, E. W., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2011). If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21(2), 115125.Google Scholar
Ebeling, F., & Lotz, S. (2015). Domestic Uptake of Green Energy Promoted by Opt-Out Tariffs. Nature Climate Change, 5(9), 868871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Egebark, J., & Ekstrom, M. (2016). Can Indifference Make the World Greener? Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 76, 113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elster, J. (1983). Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elster, J. (1985). Making Sense of Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act 1986. Pub. L. No. 99–499, 100 Stat. 1728, codified at 42 USC § 11001 et seq.Google Scholar
Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). Fuel Economy Labeling of Motor Vehicles: Revisions to Improve Calculation of Fuel Economy Estimates. 74 Fed. Reg. 61,537, 61,542, 61,550–53 (amending 40 C.F.R. Parts 86,600).Google Scholar
European Commission. (2012). Science for Environment Policy, Future Brief: Green Behavior. Retrieved from Scholar
Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review. (2011). 76 Fed. Reg. 3821.Google Scholar
Executive Order 13707: Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People. (2015). 80 Fed. Reg. 56,365.Google Scholar
Farhi, E., & Gabaix, X. (2020). Optimal Taxation with Behavioral Agents. American Economic Review, 110(1), 298–336.Google Scholar
Feldman, F. (2010). What Is This Thing Called Happiness? Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Finkelstein, A. (2009). E-ZTAX: Tax Salience and Tax Rates. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124, 9691010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Food and Drug Administration. (2014). Regulatory Impact Analysis for Final Rules on “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels.” Available at Scholar
Foot, P. (2001). Natural Goodness. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gabaix, X. (2019). Behavioral Inattention. NBER Working Paper No. 24096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gabaix, X., & Laibson, D. (2006). Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121(2), 505540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gale, W., Iwry, J., & Walters, S. (2009). Retirement Savings for Middle- and Lower-Income Households: The Pension Protection Act of 2006 and the Unfinished Agenda. In Gale, W. G. et al. (eds.), Automatic (1127), Harrisburg: R. R. Donnelley.Google Scholar
Gayer, T., & Viscusi, W. K. (2013). Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulations. Journal of Regulatory Economics, 43(3), 248264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilbert, D. T., Gill, M. J., & Wilson, T. D. (1998). How Do We Know What We Will Like? The Informational Basis of Affective Forecasting. Unpublished manuscript. Harvard University.Google Scholar
Gilbert, D., Pinel, E. C., Wilson, T. D., Blumberg, S. J., & Wheatley, T. P. (1998). Immune Neglect: A Source of Durability Bias in Affective Forecasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(3), 617638.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gilbert, D., & Wilson, T. (2000). Miswanting: Some Problems in the Forecasting of Future Affective States. In Forgas, J. P. (ed.), Feeling and Thinking: The Role of Affect in Social Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Gillingham, K., Houde, S., & van Benthem, A. A. (2019). Consumer Myopia in Vehicle Purchases. NBER Working Paper No. 25845. Available at Scholar
Glaeser, E. (2006). Paternalism and Psychology. University of Chicago Law Review, 73(1), 133156.Google Scholar
Goldin, J. (2015). Which Way to Nudge? Uncovering Preferences in the Behavioral Age. Yale Law Journal, 125(1), 226–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goldin, J. (2017). Libertarian Quasi-Paternalism. Missouri Law Review, 82, 669–682.Google Scholar
Greenstone, M. (2013). Developing a Social Cost of Carbon for US Regulatory Analysis. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 7(1), 2346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar (2018). Frontpage. Available at Scholar
Gruber, J., & Abaluck, J. T. (2011). Choice Inconsistencies among the Elderly: Evidence from Plan Choice in the Medicare Part D Program. American Economic Review, 101, 11801210.Google Scholar
Gruber, J., & Mullainathan, S. (2005). Do Cigarettes Taxes Make Smokers Better Off? The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 5(1), 145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gul, F., & Pesendorfer, W. (2004). Self-Control, Revealed Preference and Consumption Choice. Review of Economic Dynamics, 7(2), 243264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halpern, D. (2015). Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
Hausman, D., & McPherson, M. (2009). Preference Satisfaction and Welfare Economics. Economics and Philosophy, 25, 125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayek, F. (2013). The Market and Other Orders. In Caldwell, B. (ed.), The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Healthy, Hunger–Free Kids Act 2012. Pub. L. No. 111–296, 124 Stat. 3183.Google Scholar
Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. New York: Broadway.Google Scholar
Homonoff, T. (2018). Can Small Incentives Have Large Effects? The Impact of Taxes Versus Bonuses on Disposable Bag Use. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 10(4), 177–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Howarth, R. B., Haddad, B. M., & Paton, B. (2000). The Economics of Energy Efficiency: Insights from Voluntary Participation Programs. Energy Policy, 28, 477486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hsee, C. (2000). Attribute Evaluability and its Implications for Joint-Separate Evaluation Reversals and Beyond. In Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (eds.), Choices, Values and Frames. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hurka, T. (1996). Perfectionism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Internal Revenue Service. (September 2009). Retirement and Savings Initiatives: Helping Americans Save for the Future. Retrieved from Scholar (n.d.). Resources. Retrieved from Scholar
Jachimowicz, J., Duncan, S., Weber, E. U., & Johnson, E. J. (2019). Why and When Defaults Influence Decisions: A Meta-Analysis of Default Effects. Behavioral Public Policy, 3(2), 159186.Google Scholar
Johnson, E., & Goldstein, D. (2013). Decisions by Default. In Shafir, E. (ed.), The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy, 417427. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Iyengar, S., & Kamenica, E. (2010). Choice Proliferation, Simplicity Seeking, and Asset Allocation. Journal of Public Economics, 94, 530–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.Google Scholar
Kahneman, D., & Frederick, S. (2002). Representativeness Revisited: Attribute Substitution in Intuitive Judgment. In Gilovich, T., Griffin, D., & Kahneman, D. (eds.), Heuristics and Biases, 4981. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kahneman, D., Fredrickson, B. L., Schreiber, C. A., & Redelmeier, D. A. (1993). When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End. Psychological Science, 4(6), 401405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kahneman, D., Wakker, P. P., & Sarin, R. (1997). Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(2), 375405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kaiser, M., Bernauer, M., Sunstein, C. R., & Reisch, L. A. (2020). The Power of Green Defaults: The Impact of Regional Variation of Opt-Out Tariffs on Green Energy Demand in Germany. Ecological Economics, 174, 106685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kamenica, E., Mullainathan, S., & Thaler, R. (2011). Helping Consumers Know Themselves. American Economic Review, 101(3), 417422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keren, G. (ed.). (2011). Perspectives on Framing. New York: Society for Judgment and Decision Making.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kling, J., Mullainathan, S., Shafir, E., Vermeulen, L., & Wrobel, M. V. (2012). Comparison Friction: Experimental Evidence from Medicare Drug Plans. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127(1), 199235.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Korobkin, R. B. (2013). Relative Value Health Insurance: The Behavioral Law and Economics Solution to the Health Care Cost Crisis. Journal of Scholarly Perspectives, 10(1), 5168.Google Scholar
Kronlund, M., Pool, V., Sialm, C., & Stefanesco, I. (2020). Out of Sight No More? The Effect of Fee Disclosures on 401K Investment Allocations. NBER Working Paper No. 27573. Available at Scholar
Lades, L. K., & Delaney, L. (2020). Nudge FORGOOD. Behavioural Public Policy, 1–20. Available at DOI:10.1017/bpp.2019.53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laibson, D. (1997). Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(2), 443478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laibson, D. 2018. Private Paternalism, the Commitment Puzzle, and Model-Free Equilibrium. AEA Papers and Proceedings, 108, 121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lanzini, P., & Thøgersen, J. (2014). Behavioral Spillover in Environmental Domain: An Intervention Study. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 40, 381390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Le Grand, J., & New, B. (2015). Government Paternalism: Nanny State or Helpful Friend? Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Levitt, S. (2016). Heads or Tails: The Impact of a Coin Toss on Major Life Decisions and Subsequent Happiness. NBER Working Paper No. 22487. Available at Scholar
Levy, H. G., Norton, E. C., & Smith, J. A. (2018). Tobacco Regulation and Consumer Surplus: How Should We Value Foregone Consumer Surplus? American Journal of Health Economics, 4(1), 125.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Loewenstein, G. (2005). Hot-Cold Empathy Gaps and Medical Decision Making. Health Psychology, 24(4S), S49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loewenstein, G., O’Donoghue, T., & Rabin, M. (2003). Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(4), 12091248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Luguri, J., & Strahilevitz, L. (2019). Shining a Light on Dark Patterns. University of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 719. Available at Scholar
Madrian, B. C., & Shea, D. (2002). The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116(4), 11491187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Masiero, M., Lucchiari, C., & Pravettoni, G. (2015). Personal Fable: Optimistic Bias in Cigarette Smokers. International Journal of High Risk Behaviors & Addiction, 4(1), e20939.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mattauch, L., & Hepburn, C. (2016). Climate Policy When Preferences Are Endogenous – and Sometimes They Are. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 40(1), 7695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mill, J. S. (2002). On Liberty. In Miller, D. E. (eds.), The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill: On Liberty, The Subjection of Women, and Utilitarianism, 3, 1112. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
Morewedge, C. K., Gilbert, D. T., Myrseth, K. O. R., Kassam, K. S., & Wilson, T. D. (2010). Consuming Experience: Why Affective Forecasters Overestimate Comparative Value. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(6), 986–992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mullainathan, S., & Shafir, E. (2013). Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much. New York: Times Books.Google Scholar
Mulligan, J. (January 26, 2011). First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Collaboration with Walmart in Support of Let’s Move Campaign. Retrieved from Scholar
Nisbett, R. E., & Kanouse, D. E. (1968). Obesity, Hunger, and Supermarket Shopping Behavior. In Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. New York: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
Nussbaum, M. C. (1993). Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach. In Nussbaum, M. C., & Sen, A. (eds.), The Quality of Life. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nussbaum, M. C. (2000). Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Obama, B. (September 5, 2009). Weekly Address.Google Scholar
O’Donoghue, T., & Rabin, M. (2001). Choice and Procrastination. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116(1), 121160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O’Donoghue, T., & Rabin, M. (2015). Present Bias: Lessons Learned and to Be Learned. American Economic Review, 105(5), 273279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2010). Consumer Policy Toolkit. Retrieved from Scholar
Orszag, P. R. (March 29, 2010). OMB, Director, SAVEings. Retrieved from Scholar
Orszag, P. R., & Rodriguez, E. (2009). Retirement Security for Latinos: Bolstering Coverage, Savings, and Adequacy. In Gale, W. G. et al. (ed.), Automatic, 173–98. Harrisburg: R. R. Donnelley.Google Scholar
Papke, L. E., Walker, L., & Dworsky, M. (2009). Retirement Savings for Women: Progress to Date and Policies for Tomorrow. In Gale, W. G. et al. (ed.), Automatic, 199230. Harrisburg: R. R. Donnelley.Google Scholar
Pension Protection Act 2006. Pub. L. No. 109–280, 120 Stat. 780, codified in various sections of Titles 26 and 29.Google Scholar
Pettigrew, R. (2020). Choosing for Changing Selves. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Pichert, D., & Katsikopoulos, K. V. (2008). Green Defaults: Information Presentation and Pro-Environmental Behaviour. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28(1), 6373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pohl, R. F. (ed.). (2016). Cognitive Illusions. Abingdon: Routledge Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Posner, R. (1973). Economic Analysis of Law. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.Google Scholar
Rabin, M. (2013). Healthy Habits: Some Thoughts on the Role of Public Policy in Healthful Eating and Exercise Under Limited Rationality. In Oliver, A. (ed.), Behavioral Public Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Rawls, J. (1991). Political Liberalism. In Levy, Jacob T. (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Raz, J. (1985). The Morality of Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Read, D., Antonides, G., van den Ouden, L., & Trienekens, H. (2001). Which is Better: Simultaneous or Sequential Choice? Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 84(1), 54–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Read, D., Loewenstein, G., & Kalyanaraman, S. (1999). Mixing Virtue and Vice: Combining the Immediacy Effect and the Diversification Heuristic. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 12(4), 257–273.3.0.CO;2-6>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Redelmeier, D. A., Katz, J., & Kahneman, D. (2003). Memories of Colonoscopy: A Randomized Trial. Pain, 104(1–2), 187194.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Riis, J., & Ratner, R. (2015). Simplified Nutrition Guidelines to Fight Obesity. In Batra, R., Keller, P. A., & Strecher, V. J. (eds.), Leveraging Consumer Psychology for Effective Health Communications: The Obesity Challenge. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
Robinson, L. A., & Hammitt, J. K. (2011). Behavioral Economics and the Conduct of Benefit-Cost Analysis: Towards Principles and Standards. Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, 2(2), 151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sahm, C. R., Shapiro, M. D., & Slemrod, J. (2011). Check in the Mail or More in the Paycheck: Does the Effectiveness of Fiscal Stimulus Depend on How It Is Delivered? Finance and Economics Discussion Series No. 2010–40. Available at Scholar
Sarin, N. (2019). Making Consumer Finance Work. Columbia Law Review, 119(6), 15191596.Google Scholar
Schreiber, C. A., & Kahneman, D. (2000). Determinants of the Remembered Utility of Aversive Sounds. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 129(1), 27.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schkade, D., & Kahneman, D. (1998). Does Living in California Make People Happy? A Focusing Illusion in Judgments of Life Satisfaction. Psychological Science, 9(5), 340346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Scholten, M., Read, D., & Stewart, N. (2019). The Framing of Nothing and the Psychology of Choice. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 59, 125149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sethi-Iyengar, S., Huberman, G., & Jiang, W. (2004). How Much Choice is Too Much? Contributions to 401(k) Retirement Plans. In Mitchell, O. S., & Utkus, S. P. (eds.), Pension Design and Structure: New Lessons from Behavioral Finance. Oxford:Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Sharot, T. (2011). The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. New York: Knopf Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Simonson, I. (1990). The Effect of Purchase Quantity and Timing on Variety-Seeking Behavior. Journal of Marketing Research, 27(2), 150–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sparkman, G., & Walton, G. M. (2017). Dynamic Norms Promote Sustainable Behavior, Even If It Is Counternormative. Psychological Science, 28(11), 1663–1674.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sugden, R. (2018). “Better Off, as Judged by Themselves”: A Reply to Cass Sunstein. International Review of Economics, 65(1), 913. Available at–0281-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2002). Probability Neglect. Yale Law Journal, 112(1), 61107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2011). Empirically Informed Regulation. University of Chicago Law Review, 78, 13491429.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2013). Simpler. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2014). Why Nudge? The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2018a). Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2018b). On Preferring A to B, While also Preferring B to A. Rationality and Society, 30(3), 305331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2019a). On Freedom. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2019b). Rear Visibility and Some Unresolved Problems for Economic Analysis. Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, 10(3), 317350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2019c). Ruining Popcorn? The Welfare Effects of Information. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 58, 121142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sunstein, C.R. (2019d). Sludge and Ordeals. Duke Law Journal, 68, 18431883.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. (2020). Too Much Information. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sunstein, C. R., & Reisch, L. A. (2014). Automatically Green: Behavioral Economics and Environmental Protection. Harvard Environmental Law Review, 38, 127158.Google Scholar
Sunstein, C. R. & Reisch, L. A. (2019). Trusting Nudges: Toward A Bill of Rights for Nudging. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thaler, R. (2015). Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar
Thaler, R. H., & Benartzi, S. (2004). Save More Tomorrow™: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving. Journal of Political Economy, 112(S1), S164S187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Thunstrom, L. (2019). Welfare Effects of Nudges: The Emotional Tax of Calorie Menu Labeling. Judgment and Decision Making, 14(1), 1125.Google Scholar
Turnwald, B. P., et al. (2019). Increasing Vegetable Intake by Emphasizing Tasty and Enjoyable Attributes: A Randomized Controlled Multisite Intervention for Taste-Focused Labeling. Psychological Science, 30(11), 16031615.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ubel, P. A., Loewenstein, G., Schwarz, N., & Smith, D. (2005). Misimagining the Unimaginable: The Disability Paradox and Health Care Decision Making. Health Psychology, 24(4S), S57.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ullmann-Margalit, E. (2006). Big Decisions: Opting, Converting, and Drifting. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 58, 157172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Waldron, J. (2014). It’s All for Your Own Good. Available at Scholar
Weimer, D. L. (2017). Behavioral Economics for Cost-Benefit Analysis: Benefit Validity When Sovereign Consumers Seem to Make Mistakes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weimer, D. L. (2020). When Are Nudges Desirable? Benefit Validity When Preferences Are Not Consistently Revealed. Public Administration Review, 80(1), 118126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Whittington, D., & MacRaeJr., D. (1986). The Issue of Standing in Cost-Benefit Analysis. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 5(4), 665682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Willis, L. E. (2013). When Nudges Fail: Slippery Defaults. The University of Chicago Law Review, 80(3), 11551229.Google Scholar
Wilson, T. (2004). Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). Affective Forecasting. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 345411.Google Scholar
Zalta, E. N. (ed.). (2017). Perfectionism in Moral and Political Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available at Scholar
Zywicki, T. J. (2013). The Economics and Regulation of Bank Overdraft Protection. George Mason University Law & Economics Research Paper No. 11–43. Available at Scholar
9 C.F.R. § 317.309.Google Scholar
12 C.F.R. § 205.17.Google Scholar
29 C.F.R. §§ 2550.404a-5.Google Scholar
34 C.F.R. § 668.6.Google Scholar
Cited by

Save element to Kindle

To save this element to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Behavioral Science and Public Policy
  • Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Online ISBN: 9781108973144
Available formats

Save element to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Behavioral Science and Public Policy
  • Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Online ISBN: 9781108973144
Available formats

Save element to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Behavioral Science and Public Policy
  • Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Online ISBN: 9781108973144
Available formats