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Foundations of Behavioral Economics and the Nudge Agenda

This project will examine what behavioral economics and the nudge agenda are, to get a better understanding of contemporary economics and where it is heading.

Behavioral economics and the so-called nudge agenda have never been hotter than following Richard H. Thaler s Nobel award in late 2017. They have also never been more hotly debated. Unfortunately, the debate is often unproductive - the reason being that it is associated with demonstrably false assumptions and considerable conceptual confusion.

The aim of the present project is to examine what behavioral economics and the nudge agenda are, and to assess various arguments for and against. This work is important because it promises a better understanding of contemporary economics, where it is coming from and what it is going. But it is also important because many governments (including that of Sweden) are in the process of implementing the nudge agenda through so-called "nudge units," and research can shed light on their promise and limitations. The main output of the project is a book manuscript, to be published by a major academic publisher, that will argue that the differences between orthodox and behavioral economics are smaller than many people think. None of this means that behavioral economics and the nudge agenda are free from problems, but the problems are by and large the same as those of neoclassical economics.

The author has separate PhDs in philosophy and economics, and has previously published a successful textbook in behavioral economics. The book synthesizes about 15 years of work on the topic.



Principal Investigator

Erik Angner Professor, Practical Philosophy


The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences