Are prohibitions ineffective?

Much Ado About Nudging

In their provocative paper, “Putting Nudges in Perspective”, George Loewenstein and Nick Chater attempt to correct what they perceive to be a serious problem in the research agenda of applying behavioral economics to public policy. The problem, according to Loewenstein and Chater (LC), is that, “many people” think that we can solve most of the world’s problems with mere nudges. This is an odd claim to make since, as far as I know, it is not one that would be made by any of the authors of the two papers that started this line of research, namely Colin Camerer, Sam Issacharoff, George Loewenstein, Ted O’Donoghue, and Matthew Rabin, the members of the “Asymmetric Paternalism” team (2003) and Cass Sunstein and me, the creators of the “Libertarian Paternalism” (2003) faction. ….[READ]