Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Cass Sunstein’s book Simpler recounts the author’s efforts during his tenure in the first Obama administration to apply the policy tools he helped derive from behavioral economics. In this review, I suggest that, while Sunstein reports some notable achievements, he exaggerates the utility of the behaviorist toolkit. Behaviorist-inspired interventions are marginal to most of the largest policy problems, and they played little role in the Obama administration’s most important initiatives. The book also reflects a misguided political strategy.

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