By Mike Maharrey on July 31, 2013
Think you know how others should run their lives better than they do? Fancy yourself one of the intellectual elite tasked with molding the world into your own image? Love lording power over people?
You can serve on a federal “nudge squad!”
According to a document obtained by FoxNews.com, the federal government has positions open in a newly created “Behavioral Insights Team.” These behavioral scientists will work with a large array of federal agencies molding public policy to help “nudge” Americans toward government-approved behaviors.
“Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals,” according to the feds.
Essentially, the team will study ways to manipulate Americans into buying into prescribed federal behaviors, such as paying taxes on time, adopting energy efficiency measures and eating the “right foods. The document lists several examples of U.S. and international policy initiatives already benefiting from the implementation of behavioral insights.
Increasing adoption of energy efficient measures: Offering an attic-clearance service (at full cost) to people led to a five-fold increase in their subsequent adoption of attic-insulation. Interestingly, providing additional government subsidies on attic insulation services had no such effect.
Former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Chicago Booth School of Business professor Richard Thaler coined the term “nudge” in a book by that title back in 2008. The duo “offer a new perspective on preventing the countless mistakes we make—ill-advised personal investments, consumption of unhealthy foods, neglect of our natural resources—and show us how sensible “choice architecture” can successfully nudge people toward the best decisions.”
Thaler can’t imagine why anybody would oppose this idea.