Thursday, September 17, 2015

Updated--Cass Sunstein: Score! Presidential Executive Order -- "Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People"

Update in red.
Original post:
Following up on 2013's "Nudge Squad": White House Creating "Behavioral Insights Team" that Will Look for Ways to Subtly Influence People's Behavior to Get Us to All Act "Better"
Nudge Squad.Sounds like a '70's chimera: Mod Squad meets Esalen Institute.
Mr. Sunstein co-wrote the book "Nudge" with economist Richard Thaler and ran the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for the President. He has not yet commented on this E.O. although it is now two days since it was promulgated.

My mistake, I am told Mr. Sunstein tweeted:
Historic development: President Obama issues a new Executive Order directing agencies to use behavioral science. …
4:06 PM - 15 Sep 2015
And USA Today reports:
One idea Sunstein proposed Tuesday: Automatically enrolling utility customers in clean energy plans unless they opt out. Germany tried that and found a tenfold increase in people choosing clean energy, he said.
"You might worry that people are being tricked into green energy. And it is a little more expensive," he said. "But people consciously knew, 'It’s a little bit more expensive. It's green energy, It's OK by me."
If you haven't read Nudge, the subtitle, very seriously, should be: "It's for your own good".

From the President of the United States:
- - - - - - -
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights -- research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them -- can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people. 
Where Federal policies have been designed to reflect behavioral science insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for the individuals, families, communities, and businesses those policies serve. For example, automatic enrollment and automatic escalation in retirement savings plans have made it easier to save for the future, and have helped Americans accumulate billions of dollars in additional retirement savings. Similarly, streamlining the application process for Federal financial aid has made college more financially accessible for millions of students....MORE
HT: Marginal Revolution

Here's the accompanying factsheet:
Fact Sheet: President Obama Signs Executive Order; White House Announces New Steps to Improve Federal Programs by Leveraging Research Insights

Here is the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team Annual Report 2015

See also Forbes November 2012:
How Behavioral Science Propelled Obama's Win

Possibly also of interest:
Nudge This: "The Internet of Things Will Be a Giant Persuasion Machine"
Nudge This: "Yes, You’re Irrational, and Yes, That’s OK"
Nudge This: "The Algorithmic Self"
Behavior: We Are More Rational Than Those who Try To 'Nudge' Us
I don't care much for manipulators. 
For a time however I tried to work the word into every conversation. I knew a finance guy who, for whatever reason, could not say the word, when he tried it came out as 'nipulators.'I loved it when he'd go on a rant about the nipulators and nipulation, I'd egg him on and just melt when he got going. 
Good times.