Sunday, November 01, 2015

Angus gets nudged!

So Richard Thaler has an NYT op-ed, The Power of Nudges for Good and Bad

You can read it here.

I thought it was a bit unbalanced, and I tweeted the following:

Richard was not pleased and tweeted back (he's pretty aggressive on Twitter):

"Total" is a matter of fact, and can be discussed "Willful" is just a cheap shot.

As to whether or not I misread it, here is Thaler in the piece:

"As far as I know, the government teams in Britain and the United States that have focused on nudging have followed these guidelines scrupulously. But the private sector is another matter. In this domain, I see much more troubling behavior."

So I tweeted a 140 character version of that quote back to him and dropped the mic.

But then Richard tweeted,

@FarmerHayek @ez_angus I have said the opposite dozens of times. Read the book!
— Richard H Thaler (@R_Thaler) October 31, 2015

And then I realized, "hey Angus, you got NUDGED"!!!

Though it's not clear to me how the first sentence in any way incentivizes me to follow the command in the second.


stan said...

Cass spoke to an investment conference right after the book came out. The only he said that made any coherent sense was that people would be better off taking corporate matches. Therefore, make the default option taking the match instead of zero.

Of course, that's a value judgment.

After that, and even more so after questions, the whole notion of a nudge seemed to be summarized as -- freedom is good, people are dumb, sometimes they need help, from designated smart people, but only when appropriate.

Not exactly worthy of a pithy battle cry. Or much of anything, really.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget this quote about why Government nudges aren't so bad, because

"In a democracy, if a government creates bad policies, it can be voted out of office. Competition in the private sector, however, can easily work to encourage [bad nudging] rather than stifle it."

Oh boy. That's a very naive take on U.S. democracy. Can one of you lend him some old issues of Public Choice?

Anonymous said...

Your tweet was spot on and aligns with both the op ed and the book "Nudge."

These guys try to give lip service to private markets, but they really usually just advocate big government.

stan said...

After Cass' latest op-ed piece in IBD on why it is a good idea to go after Exxon Mobil for global warming, I think he needs a few brain nudges. Actually, more than a few.