Active choosing or default rules? The policymaker’s dilemma

by Cass R. Sunstein
February 15, 2017

Author Affiliation

Sunstein, Harvard University Law School. Corresponding author’s e-mail:


1.Johnson, E. J., & Goldstein, D. G. (2012). Decisions by default. In E. Shafir (Ed.), The behavioral foundations of policy (pp. 417–418). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

2.Goldstein, D. G., Johnson, E. J., Herrmann, A., & Heitmann, M. (2008). Nudge your customers toward better choices. Harvard Business Review, 86, 99–105.

3.Fehr, E., Herz, H., & Wilkening, T. (2013). The lure of authority: Motivation and incentive effects of power. American Economic Review, 103, 1325–1359.

4.Bartling, B., Fehr, E., & Herz, H. (2014). The intrinsic value of decision rights (Working Paper No. 120). Zurich, Switzerland: University of Zurich, Department of Economics.

5.Pavey, L., & Sparks, P. (2009). Reactance, autonomy and paths to persuasion: Examining perceptions of threats to freedom and informational value. Motivation and Emotion, 33, 277–290.

6.Mullainathan, S., & Shafir, E. (2013). Scarcity: Why having too little means so much. New York, NY: Times Books.

7.Bartling, B., & Fischbacher, U. (2012). Shifting the blame: On delegation and responsibility. Review of Economic Studies, 79, 67–87.

8.Dwengler, N., Kübler, D., & Weizsäcker, G. (2013). Flipping a coin: Theory and evidence. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from

9.Rebonato, R. (2012). Taking liberties: A critique of libertarian paternalism. London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.

10. Conly, S. (2013). Against autonomy: Justifying coercive paternalism. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

11. Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2008). Nudge: Improving decisions about wealth, health, and happiness. New York, NY: Penguin.

12. Botti, S., & Hsee, C. (2010). Dazed and confused by choice: How the temporal costs of choice freedom lead to undesirable outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 112, 161–171.

13. Loewenstein, G., Bryce, C., Hagman, D., & Rajpal, S. (2015). Warning: You are about to be nudged. Behavioral Science & Policy, 1, 35–42.

14. Smith, N. C., Goldstein, D. G., & Johnson, E. J. (2013). Choice without awareness: Ethical and policy implications of defaults. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 32, 159–172.

15. Sunstein, C. R. (2013). Deciding by default. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 162, 1–57.