Warning: You are about to be Nudged
Behavioral Science & Policy, 1(1), 35-42, 2015
8 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2015 Last revised: 19 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2015
The working paper is available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2417383.
Presenting a default option is known to influence important decisions. That includes decisions regarding advance medical directives, documents people prepare to convey which medical treatments they favor in the event that they are too ill to make their wishes clear. Some observers have argued that defaults are unethical because people are typically unaware that they are being nudged toward a decision. We informed people of the presence of default options before they completed a hypothetical advance directive, or after, then gave them the opportunity to revise their decisions. The effect of the defaults persisted, despite the disclosure, suggesting that their effectiveness may not depend on deceit. These findings may help address concerns that behavioral interventions are necessarily duplicitous or manipulative.
Keywords: advance directives, nudges, defaults, behavioral economics
JEL Classification: C91, I1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation