Authors
Richard Pettigrew
Bristol University
Abstract
When is it legitimate for a government to ‘nudge’ its citizens, in the sense described by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (Thaler & Sustein 2008)? In their original work on the topic, Thaler and Sunstein developed the ‘as judged by themselves‘ (or AJBT) test to answer this question (5, Thaler & Sunstein 2008). In a recent paper, L. A. Paul and Sunstein (Paul & Sunstein ms) raised a concern about this test: it often seems to give the wrong answer in cases in which we are nudged to make a decision that leads to what Paul calls a personally transformative experience, that is, one that results in our values changing (Paul 2014). In those cases, the nudgee will judge the nudge to be legitimate after it has taken place, but only because their values have changed as a result of the nudge. In this paper, I take up the challenge of finding an alternative test. I draw on my aggregate utility account of how to choose in the face of what Edna Ullmann-Margalit (2006) calls big decisions, that is, decisions that lead to these personally transformative experiences (Chapters 6 and 7, Pettigrew 2019).
Keywords nudge  libertarian paternalism  transformative experience  heuristics and biases  rational choice  liberalism  autonomy  freedom of choice  libertarianism
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Choosing for Changing Selves.Richard Pettigrew - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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