Who Are You Calling Irrational?

Kovvali, Aneil | October 5, 2015

In the review, Kovvali discusses and critiques certain philosophical underpinnings of “nudges.” Nudges are small interventions that change the context in which decisions are made, thus encouraging individuals to make specific choices. Using an analogy to voting paradoxes, Kovvali shows that nudges exploit a type of irrationality that results when citizens attempt to reconcile inconsistent objectives, and concludes that while insights about irrationality are useful when government officials ask how to design an intervention, they often do not provide a convincing justification for why an intervention is needed.