Choice Architecture

17 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2010  

Richard H. Thaler

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

John P. Balz

University of Chicago - Political Science Department

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2, 2010

Abstract

Decision makers do not make choices in a vacuum. They make them in an environment where many features, noticed and unnoticed, can influence their decisions. The person who creates that environment is, in our terminology, a choice architect. In this paper we analyze some of the tools that are available to choice architects. Our goal is to show how choice architecture can be used to help nudge people to make better choices (as judged by themselves) without forcing certain outcomes upon anyone, a philosophy we call libertarian paternalism. The tools we highlight are: defaults, expecting error, understanding mappings, giving feedback, structuring complex choices, and creating incentives.

Keywords: Behavioral Economics, Public Policy, Nudge, Psychology

Suggested Citation

Thaler, Richard H. and Sunstein, Cass R. and Balz, John P., Choice Architecture (April 2, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1583509 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1583509

Richard H. Thaler (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-5208 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John P. Balz

University of Chicago - Political Science Department ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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