The Council of Psychological Advisers

Forthcoming, Annual Review of Psychology

48 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2014 Last revised: 4 Oct 2014

See all articles by Cass R. Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 15, 2014


Findings in behavioral science, including psychology, have been influencing policies and reforms in many nations. “Choice architecture” can affect outcomes even if material incentives are not involved. In some contexts, default rules, simplification, and uses of social norms have been found to have even larger effects than significant economic incentives. Psychological research is helping to inform initiatives in areas that include savings, finance, highway safety, consumer protection, energy, climate change, obesity, education, poverty, development, crime, corruption, health, and the environment. No nation has created a Council of Psychological Advisers, but the role of behavioral research is likely to grow in coming years, especially in light of the mounting interest in promoting ease and simplification (“navigability”); in increasing effectiveness, economic growth, and competitiveness; and in low-cost, choice-preserving approaches. (The Appendix is a one-page list of thirty-one such approaches.)

Keywords: behavioral economics, nudge, regulation, energy efficiency

JEL Classification: D03, D10, D11, D18, D60, D80, K0, K2

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., The Council of Psychological Advisers (September 15, 2014). Forthcoming, Annual Review of Psychology, Available at SSRN: or

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

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

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