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Books in brief: The Ethics of Influence by Cass Sunstein

When should governments intervene?

9781107140707The Ethics of Influence by Cass R Sunstein (Cambridge University Press, £18.99)

Insights into the behavioural foibles that stop us making good decisions are increasingly being applied in government policy. Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler started it all with the 2008 publication of Nudge—the manifesto for “libertarian paternalism” that led David Cameron to create the Behavioural Insights Team.

Sunstein’s new book is an integrated collection of essays on the ethics of government intervention. His ever-reasonable voice reiterates that one can’t object to “nudging” in theory since nudges are everywhere. Rather, when deciding what…

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