[REPOST: RedNMR] Publication of the book “Nudge. The Final Edition” - JULI PONCE SOLÉ

Original article here (Blog red temática de investigación transdisciplinar - Nudging aplicado a la Mejora de la Regulación transdisciplinar) 

In “Nudge. The Final Editionthe 2017 Nobel Laureate in Economics Richard Thaler and the Law Professor Cass Sunstein revise and expand their well-known book published more than a decade ago (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2008).

As indicated in the preface to this work published by Penguin Books, the addition of “the final edition” to the title is intended as a compromise strategy to avoid problems of self-control—a widely studied issue in the field of behavioral sciences— and falling into the temptation of producing new editions in the future.

Much has happened in the world since the publication of the first edition of this book, in the spring of 2008. Among other things, a serious economic crisis —that was simmering when the first version appeared— and a Covid-19 pandemic —coinciding with the appearance of this final edition— which we have not fully overcome yet.

In essence, the work we are commenting on maintains the first four chapters of the earlier edition, which have not been substantially changed. These are the chapters on biases and nudges. In other parts of the book, the reflections originally made are also maintained, but with a fresher look in the light of the data collected in the years that have elapsed. The book also incorporates new chapters dedicated to smart disclosure and the concept of sludge, which could be translated as mud, mire or silt. In “Ingreso Mínimo Vital y chapapote tributario” [Minimum Living Income and Tax Sludge], a previous article in this blog,  Pablo Grande, a collaborator of our network, translated “sludge” into Spanish as chapapote: a very graphic and appropriate term often used to refer to oil slicks). .

Additionally, the chapter on climate change and the environment has been expanded in length, and references to the Covid-19 pandemic have been introduced. To conclude the book, there is also a completely new section entitled “Complaints Department”, in which the authors consider and refute some of the criticisms that their work has given rise to in the thirteen years since the publication of the first edition.

As is known, behavioral insights, derived from the behavioral sciences,have had a powerful impact in recent decades, changing the way we understand how people make decisions. Human behavioral sciences are a set of disciplines that deal with human behavior insofar as it influences and is influenced by the attitudes, behavior and needs of other people. The disciplines that make up the behavioral sciences are considered to be anthropology, pedagogy, political science, psychiatry, psychology, criminology, and sociology. This set can be incorporated within the broader category of social sciences: the group of disciplines concerned with society’s origin, functioning and institutions, which also include law, economics, history, and geography.

In the field of Economics, Behavioral Economics has been a well-established branch for decades, as its seven Nobel Prizes prove (it should be noted, however, that Alfred Nobel did not include Economics in his will, so it is not the Nobel Foundation that is responsible for awarding this prize, but the Bank of Sweden, which, in 1968, established it to commemorate the anniversary of the central bank). Some of these prizes have not actually been awarded to economists, but to psychologists.

Herbert Simon, Nobel laureate in economics in 1978, focused his research on what he called “Decision-making process“, trying to assess the limitations in people’s ability to make decisions with incomplete and sometimes overwhelming information. In 2002, Daniel Kahneman also received the Nobel Prize for integrating research in psychology with economics, and linking it to the analysis of personal judgments and decision making under uncertain conditions.

Other academics so honored include Akerlof and Shiller (the former, Nobel in Economics in 2001, and the latter in 2013), who in “Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism” (2009) point out that the economy is not only guided by purely rational motives, but that non-economic and irrational motivations are also involved. In 2016 Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström were awarded the Nobel Prize as well. Their findings were based on the fact that contracts play a fundamental role in both society and economy and can protect against uncertainty as well as contribute to cooperation, if properly designed.

Richard H. Thaler, co-author of the book on which this post is focused, also received a Nobel Prize in 2017, for his pioneering work in establishing that people are predictably irrational and behave consistently in defiance of economic theory.

In 2019 the economists Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer received a Nobel Prize for their experimental approach in the fight against poverty.

In law, the term Behavioral Law is increasingly being used, as Thomas S. Ulen does, to refer to a way of approaching legal analysis based on the results of behavioral studies. There has also been some development around Behavioral EthicsAs discussed in this blog, in fact, behavioral ethics research is showing that, although calculated legal infringement exists, in many cases the unlawful conduct derives from a much less deliberate decision-making process. That is, there are people, many people, good people, in Yuval Feldman’s words (The Law of Good People. Challenging States’ Ability to Regulate Human Behavior, published by Cambridge Press in 2018), who do not comply with the Law not because they are willing to pay a price (sanction, penalty) that is to their advantage in a cost-benefit analysis, but because they decide to do so induced by systematic cognitive errors —to which we will refer shortly—, which lead them to ignore, justify or excuse their anti-juridical conduct.

Among the sciences of human behavior, as has been pointed out, are neuroscience and psychology. Psychology deals with behavior and the mind (something like software,  if we use the metaphor of the computer ); neuroscience, with the nervous system, which is the support of the mind and the physical device on which the mind and the control of behavior are based (the hardware). It is difficult for one of them to work without the other. If neuroscience were limited to studying the brain, it would never link up with the questions of why and how people act as they do.  On the other hand, if psychology were to ignore the nervous system, it would not properly understand the physical basis of such behaviors. Progressively the two interact and feed back into each other with increasing intensity.

Neuroscience and psychology are closely inter-related and will increasingly interact with and enrich each other in the future. However, in recent decades, thanks to the well-known work of the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky —died in 1996— and the already mentioned Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman (on their biography and exciting professional relationship, see the interesting book written by Michael Lewis, The Undoing Project: a friendship that changed the world), it has been psychology that has contributed most to make it widely accepted that:

  • The absolute rationality of the person, of the homo economicus does not exist. First of all because rationality is limited (as highlighted by Herbert Simon a long time ago) and, secondly, because it is a concept that does not take into account perfectly rational behaviors such as reciprocity and altruism (which give rise to a model of homo reciprocans that makes decisions  based on social norms, in which reciprocity, altruism and trust matter).
  • Rationality is interfered with by heuristics and cognitive biases. The works of the authors cited above point out that cognitive schemes and heuristics are rules that simplify the selection and processing of information. These are like intuitive shortcuts, which function as adaptive mechanisms against the limits of our cognitive resources (so a red octagon generally means “stop”, while an outstretched hand expresses “greeting”) and, in situations of risk and uncertainty, lead to certain assessment and prediction biases. Heuristics can provide fast and efficient shortcuts in information processing, but sometimes they also lead to systematic and predictable errors. Thus, heuristics produce errors, and biases are errors that occur systematically. Nevertheless, not all errors are biases, even though all biases are errors.

Due to these biases, it is not unusual for our brains to mislead and turn us into individuals who make mistakes and bad decisions, even when we have complete information. Although it may come as a surprise, since the deviations of people’s rationality have already been studied well, the scientific advances of the last decades show us that people are not perfect decision-makers who maximize their interest in an absolutely rational way. Kahneman explained very educationally that two systems of decision-making coexist inside us: one is automatic and fast, the so-called system 1; while the other, system 2, is an effort linked to previous deliberation. System 1 is activated unconsciously and works well on various occasions, but on many others it leads to cognitive errors caused by those heuristics and biases that are used by our mind to make quick decisions without excessive energy consumption.

The main premise of the theory of cognitive psychology, therefore, is understanding that the human brain is a limited processor of information unable to successfully process all incoming stimuli. This distinction between systems explains, for example, that providing information is not sufficient —by itself— to modify behaviors.

Given that most of our behavior is automatic, instinctive, and habitual, for example, labeling and information campaigns alone do not guarantee behavioral change. Accordingly, in the final edition of “Nudge”, Thaler and Sunstein decided to include the aforesaid chapter on smart disclosure, which should be understood as a specific way of collecting and making information available to consumers and users of public services. This consists of a set of rules aimed at solving the problem of the fine print and at facilitating better decision-making by consumers and users. It is not just a matter of providing information, but of selecting, ordering, and presenting data in accordance with the knowledge derived from behavioral sciences, in order to make information simple and comprehensible. If smart disclosure were to be normatively imposed on private companies and the public sector, this obligation would not be the behavioral instrument itself. In fact, mandatory smart disclosure serves to deploy an incentive for influencing the people who will access the required information.

It is on the basis of the contributions of the human behavioral sciences that the notion of nudging and nudge arises. Since the absolute rationality of homo economicus does not exist, and also such rationality is interfered with by heuristics and biases, nudges emerge as strategies to improve decisional rationality.

From a purely linguistic perspectivenudge, means pushing something or someone gently, especially with the elbow, to attract her/his attention. In Spanish, the Fundación del Español Urgente, promoted by Agencia EFE and BBVA, indicates that “acicate”, which is defined as incentive or stimulus, can be an alternative to “nudge” when used as a noun (like coup de pouce in French or spinta leggera in Italian, for example).

“Nudge” is also translated into Spanish as “empujón”, a word meaning an impulse/push given with force, but as it is a gentle stimulus, according most English dictionaries, “empujoncito”, a more colloquial alternative, or “pequeño empujón” is sometimes preferred. Verbs like “acicatear”, “animar”, “espolear” or “incitar” can also be considered appropriate in Spanish.

In “Nudge, the final edition”, the authors define nudging in the field of public policy —essentially maintaining the definition used in 2008— as:

“…any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not taxes, fines, subsidies, bans, or mandates. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not”.

The authors talk about choice architecture because when someone is asked to make a choice, the way in which alternatives are offered affects their response. Whatever the case, there is always a design of the decision context, made consciously or unconsciously by the designer, the choice architect; a context in which consumers/users of public services choose among different options and make decisions (such as shopping, getting vaccinated, etc.). The same clearly happens in the digital realm.

As the European Economic and Social Committee pointed out in a 2017 paper regarding public nudges:

Nudges are emerging as a public policy tool to complement those already used by European public authorities (information and awareness-raising, financial incentives, legislation and exemplarity). However, they are proving to be particularly useful for overcoming certain social, environmental and economic challenges”

Based on this idea, there can be, and there are, private and public activities to encourage or discourage certain consumer and user behaviors both outside and inside the digital world. These choice architectures may be transparent or not and have acceptable and even positive purposes (to encourage consumption without deception and respecting the will of the consumer, to personalize public services to provide better public management) or ethically and legally unacceptable objectives (to achieve greater sales of products or services to consumers or to guide or hinder the use of public services or obtain personal data without clear and explicit consent, thus manipulating people).

In the latter case, we are faced with private or administrative sludge: an aspect of choice architecture consisting of friction that makes it more difficult for people to obtain an outcome they desire for their well-being. Sludge can occur in both the private and the public sector, and in the corresponding chapter of the work we are commenting on, the authors skillfully indicate it with various examples.

In the private sphere, for instance, there are some digital practices known as dark patterns or dark designs—already addressed in this blog— that can be considered sludge. Dark patterns are User Interface and User Experiences (UI/UX) designs that intentionally try to exploit people’s vulnerabilities by manipulating or misleading users to their own detriment. They are created with the intention of pushing users towards a certain outcome. This definition underlines the broad concept of dark designs, which can be used for a variety of purposes (e.g. obtaining more personal data, money, influencing a vote or, in general, any decision).

In the administrative sphere, the term sludge is linked to the concept of unnecessary administrative burden. There is some confusion between the terms “administrative cost” and “administrative burden” and the latter tends to have a negative connotation, but this is not always appropriate.

Strictly speaking, according to the definition provided by the Standard Cost Model —an international methodology for measuring administrative costs—, the administrative burden is a type of administrative cost imposed on companies: a regulatory obligation to provide information (e.g., to register, to apply for a license) imposed on a company. If this burden is necessary for the protection of general interests (e.g. information on the side effects of medicines), it is a positive and necessary burden to be maintained. This distinction is not made within the book under discussion (see page 154, regarding administrative burdens), yet it is particularly relevant. Only the unnecessary burden is sludge that should ideally be avoided at the time of drafting rules (ex ante assessment) or eliminated at the time of evaluation (ex post assessment).

Identifying administrative sludge and distinguishing it from the administrative burdens necessary for the general interest is not simple and requires a strategy and a series of careful considerations (sludge audits), which the chapter of the book we are commenting on mentions but does not develop. Anyone wishing to go into this subject in greater depth should therefore turn to previous publications or consult another book recently written by Sunstein:  “Sludge: What Stops Us from Getting Things Done and What to Do about It”(MIT Press, 2021).

Nudging strategies, whether formally or informally adopted, must always respect the constitutional rights involved. It will be so, for a formally adopted nudging strategy, when it is included in a legal regulation that establishes a default option regarding choices such as being an organ donor or not, or opting for one alternative or another in relation to pensions. Conversely, the installation of speed bumps on the pavement to encourage drivers to reduce their speed will be an informally adopted nudging strategy. Among these constitutional rights, it is important to highlight the right to freedom of thought, especially in relation to the use of nudges by private companies or administrations with the intention of “manipulating” citizens’ decisions, and the right to privacy, which may be at stake for the same reason.

Regarding freedom of thought, in this blog we already mentioned John Stuart Mill and “On Liberty”, a book he wrote in 1859, which makes clear that can be no freedom of thought without freedom of attention. If the latter is manipulated, the former is negatively affected, and we should remember that the right to freedom of thought is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by art. 9 of ECHR, among others. In the Spanish Constitution (SC), although not explicitly, it appears as a necessary requirement for freedom of expression (art. 20).

Additionally, as the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decision 76/2019, of 22 May 2019 recalled, by citing previous decisions, the ideological freedom guaranteed by art. 16.1 SC has two dimensions:  one is internal and involves the right to adopt a certain intellectual position before life and all that concerns it, and to represent or judge reality according to personal convictions. The other, the external one, is the dimension of agere licere: the right to act according to one’s own ideas without incurring any sanction or demerit, or suffering compulsion or interference by public authorities.

Therefore, it can be said that a nudging strategy that takes advantage of our biases to manipulate us and capture our attention, whether public or private, could come to undermine our constitutional right to freedom of thought, which is intimately linked to the value of dignity and to the freedom to develop our personality (art. 10.1 SC).

Likewise, when establishing nudges, Administrations must avoid violating the principle of impartiality and must respect all the rules and values of the legal system (such as the principle of interdiction of arbitrariness or the principle of equality). This was perfectly pointed out by Velasco in a passage that could be translated to English as follows:

“The non-mandatory form that is characteristic of nudges implies neither neutrality nor harmlessness. If a nudge is useful in directing conduct —if useless it would not be a nudge anyway—, it can do that rightly or wrongly, in a right or wrongful direction. Therefore, when a nudge has the potential to sacrifice fundamental rights (because it encourages conducts that may be contrary to the right to property, freedom of enterprise, or personal privacy), a law should necessarily precede it (art. 53.1 Spanish Constitution, SC). Similarly, if a public information campaign improves the sales of one company while ruining another accountability guarantees may apply (art. 9.3 and 106.2 SC). Finally, these nudges can be subject to judicial control (arts. 24 and 106.1 SC): either through the decision shaped by the choice architecture, or by evaluating the nudge itself in relation to the effects it produces”.

Returning to the book under discussion, it should be highlighted that it also deals with behavioral contributions and nudges in important and vital areas such as pension savings (Chapter 9), credit (Chapter 11), insurance (Chapter 12), and organ donation (Chapter 13). The chapter on organ donation includes a specific reference to the strategy implemented by Spain in this ambit. In particular, the authors pointed out that its good functioning —a world example indeed— does not depend on the presence of a system of default options in favor of organ donation. In fact, they categorically deny that this is a strategy based on default options, because the donor’s relatives can intervene in the decision process (a debatable position, especially in the light of art. 5 of the Law n. 30/1979, of 27 October 1979, on organ extraction and transplantation, which in practice allows the procedure despite family intervention).

In addition, the book addresses climate change and the environment (chapter 14); an ambit in which a number of circumstances —including present-day and loss aversion cognitive biases— create the perfect storm. The authors are very cautious while dealing with this area: coercive regulations will have to be imposed to counteract such a storm, but there is still a range of useful interventions in the form of nudges that is worth implementing.

The provision of information to consumers in order to create environmental blacklists is an example of social nudging that the authors suggest should be implemented to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. In this respect, they consider the American legislation on toxic emissions’ inventory, introduced in the 1980s as a consequence of the Bhopal disaster in India, to be a useful antecedent.

Another example of nudging in this ambit is the “automatically green” default option), which takes into account the inertia or status quo bias. On this point, they mention the German strategy of using default options in favor of green energy, which led more than 69% of families to opt for this eco-friendly solution and numerous energy companies to automatically include their clients in green energy contracts —unless they choose otherwise.

Moreover, the authors draw attention to the use of nudging to harness conformity bias by energy suppliers, which may imply  comparing one’s expenses with those of her/his neighbors and including the information on the bill; a technique that has already proven effective in many cases.

The book concludes with an epilogue, preceded by the aforesaid “Complaints Department”; the section in which the authors review some of the criticisms to the first edition of the book and provide counterarguments to refute them.

The criticisms addressed by Thaler and Sunstein are concerned with the confusion that the expression “libertarian paternalism” can generate. Thus, criticism about: choice architects’ potential to be biased and malicious; the supposed weakness of nudges; the risk that nudges lead to a slippery slope in favor of public intervention; the need to provide information and education to people —so that they can make appropriate choices— rather than nudging them; —the already discussed— potential of nudges to manipulate; and the importance of using prohibitions and mandates instead of nudges.

Note that, although not included in the “Complaints Department”, elsewhere the book also considers and responds to the criticism related to nudges’ lack of sustained duration (see pages 209 ff., where the example of the Swedish pension system is discussed as a touchstone for the response to such criticisms).

What arguments do the authors put forward to counter these critics? For the sake of clarity, we will use a table comparing the essence of the criticism and the answer given in the book, which will be explained concisely:

Criticism of behavioral inputs and nudges Arguments in response included in “Nudge. The Final Edition”
1. Nudges seek to be the solution to all problems. This is not true; see on this subject the final section of the Complaints Department, in which the need for command and control is recognized as well as its possible use in combination with nudges.  
2 Nudges are not enough and are a distraction. The book insists that they can help, but they are not a magic solution, and it does not reject the possibility of combining them with mandates, prohibitions, and economic incentives.  
3. Nudges don’t last There is empirical evidence against the lack of long-lasting effects in the Swedish case of pensions and it is set out in the book.  
4. The expression “libertarian paternalism” is confusing. The book denies it; libertarianism means protecting freedom of choice, while paternalism means acting on means, not on purposes.  
5.  Choice architects are vulnerable to bias and can potentially be malicious. The book is a reminder that choice architecture can never be avoided anyway. It also happens with command and control (mandates and prohibitions), and it is even worse, because in this case there is no space for personal choice. Debiasing techniques can be used.  
6. Nudges are slippery slopes that always lead to more public intervention.   Nudging is inevitable and preserves freedom of choice. There is nothing in nudging that imposes increasing intervention.
7. Instead of nudges, better promotion of active choice is needed. It is not necessary to use a nudge, but to encourage, empower and educate people. In some cases, forcing people to make difficult decisions is forcing them into difficult choices. All of these proposals are compatible with nudging. Several nudges are based on system 2, not 1: information disclosure, warnings, reminders, etc. Education is not the magic solution according to the available empirical research.  
8. A nudge is a form of manipulation. Most nudges are not manipulations: labels, warnings and reminders are public and clear. Default rules should be transparent. They could only be qualified as manipulation if the nudge is opaque or if it makes it difficult for people to make a different choice (sludge): to avoid this, the publicity principle should guide nudging.  
9. A Nudge only works if it is opaque. This is not true according to empirical research; what is true is precisely the opposite.  
10. Mandates and prohibitions should always be used in place of nudges. Only if they imply negative externalities; if there are choices that may be harmful to others. However, even in those cases, nudges could play a role in combination with prohibitions, mandates, and sanctions.  

Taken as a whole, the responses are convincing and in some cases complementary arguments could even be used to refute such criticisms. Thus, in relation to the use of prohibitions, mandates, and sanctions instead of incentives, the argument of the proportionality principle, widely used in Europe, should be adopted. According to the well-known legal principle of proportionality, nudges should be used if they are available and effective, because they are less restrictive in terms of citizens’ rights than other alternatives.

As for the expression libertarian paternalism, it can certainly lead to confusion. In this respect, Cassese introduced an alternative expression that looks clearer and links with what was argued in the previous paragraph: liberal intervention —Cassese, S. (2016) “Exploring the legitimacy of Nudging”, in Kemmerer, Möllers, Steinbeis, Wagner (Eds), Choice Architecture in Democracies. Exploring the Legitimacy of Nudging, Hart, Nomos, pp. 241-246. In our opinion, this liberal intervention must always be justified by a service in the general interest, not only for the supposed well-being of a person or group of people, although both perspectives can easily converge (for example, an incentive to stop smoking, to take more exercise, to follow a diet, to get vaccinated or to wear a helmet on a motorbike, which is certainly likely to increase people’s well-being, but which is implemented by the Administration to serve the general interest of protecting people’s health and safety and saving public health spending).

Nevertheless, there are other criticisms of behavioral contributions that the authors do not consider in their “Complaints Department” or elsewhere in the book, at least not explicitly. For instance, they leave unanswered the criticism referring to the aspects expounded below. Given that both the authors —implicitly in this book and more explicitly in other publications— and other specialists have provided arguments to refute such criticisms, we decided to include them in another table:

Criticisms of behavioral contributions and nudging not directly considered in the book Arguments in response to criticisms not specifically considered, which can be found in the specialized literature or implicitly in the book
1. Theories about behavior and nudging have been developed mostly in the United States and the United Kingdom, where legitimization of public intervention is necessary. They will not be applicable in the European context or in every other place in which public intervention is more generally accepted. (Formulated by law, as for example in Spain. See Velasco Caballero).   Sabino Cassese, in a collective book denies it. According to him nudging is also important outside the US and UK. The reasons are: the current over-regulation, the need to emphasize compliance and to put regulated individuals and firms first and foremost in the spotlight. See: Cassese, S., Exploring the legitimacy of Nudging, in Kemmerer, Möllers, Steinbeis, Wagner Eds., Choice Architecture in Democracies. Exploring the Legitimacy of Nudging, Hart, Nomos, pp. 241-246.  
2. Nudges are a Trojan horse of neoliberalism because they emphasize individualism when it comes to influencing individual behavior, forgetting social causes and social responses. In the field of sociology, see for example: -Bergeron, H. et. al., Le biais comportementaliste, SciencesPo-Les Presses, 2018, pp. 77 et seq. -Chabal, A., Souriez, Vous êtes nudge, Éditions du Faubourg, 2021, p. 199 et seq.   Nudges are used by different political parties in various countries of the world.   Nudges include the promotion of social public policies (e.g., automatic enrolment for free school meals for children) and environmental protection, as mentioned in the book.   Nudges take society into account (following herd bias and social norms).
3. Nudges give the idea that humans are irrational beings because of their cognitive biases. Nudges deny the idea of homo economicus, but without saying that human beings are irrational. We are only human, hence fallible, and we can foresee our systematic errors. See for example: Sunstein, The Mischievous Science of Richard Thaler – New Rambler Review.  
4. Biases are multiple and undefined: there is a bias that ultimately sees biases everywhere. See: Bergeron, H. et. al., Le biais comportementaliste, SciencesPo-Les Presses, 2018.   Biases are identified through experiments and in this way they become known.
5. Biases are not universal and depend on social class.   As humans, we share systems 1 and 2 of thought, although Sunstein considers that this is a reasonable point. See: Sunstein, The Mischievous Science of Richard Thaler – New Rambler Review.  
6. The replication crisis (or replicability crisis) refers to a methodological crisis in the behavioral sciences, especially in psychology. Researchers have found that the results of many scientific experiments are difficult or impossible to replicate in subsequent research by independent researchers or by the original investigators of these studies.   This is not a problem that concerns only psychology or behavioral economics. Moreover, there is awareness about it and different think tanks are proposing a future agenda with more statistical rigor, less focus on the anecdotal, and more focus on major problems.  

Despite the criticisms, the vitality of behavioral inputs is undeniable as well as their widespread use. This is clearly confirmed by the more than 200 nudgeunits around the world, and by the several documents and recommendations that the UN, OECD, EU, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and other national international institutions elaborated for them.

It remains to be seen whether the abovementioned criticisms  depend on some kind of  “mid-life crisis” of the Behavioral Economy —given that this intellectual current was born in the late 1970s— and if behavioral contributions will emerge reinforced due to them. Indeed, the ongoing digital revolution is demonstrating that they are being widely used by the private sector through artificial intelligence and precision nudges —or hypernudges—, but not always with positive effects for consumers. With its clear arguments based on empirical evidence, “Nudge. The final edition” can be considered an important and interesting contribution to reinforce the value and usefulness of behavioral insights and nudges; a highly recommended book, a Spanish version of which we look forward to reading very soon.

Juli Ponce Solé