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.
William H. Simon,
The Republic of Choosing: A Behaviorist Goes to Washington,
Boston Review, Vol. 38, No. 4, p. 46, 2013; Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 13-353
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