We are rational beings, but our rationality is limited by environmental uncertainty and our minds’ characteristics. This dual constraint leads us to make decisions that are occasionally imperfect from an economic standpoint. This is true in our personal affairs, but even in our roles as citizens we often diverge from rationality. Richard H. Thaler, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, and Cass Sunstein, the renowned legal scholar, have coined the term “nudge”, meaning a “gentle push” provided by governments in order to induce citizens to make more effective decisions in a variety of areas, including health (using vaccines) and economics (resorting to supplementary pensions). Making use of recent discoveries in behavioural science, this book proposes a novel version of the “nudge” and describes the cognitive processes underpinning strategies and policies that may prove useful to our well-being and happiness.
Riccardo Viale teaches Behavioural Science and Cognitive Economics at the Bicocca University in Milan. He has been a visiting professor at Columbia University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and is currently the president of the Cognitive Insights Team in Turin.