Cass Sunstein Kicks Off the Behavioral Sciences Workshop in Spring 2016

January 15, 2016

Cass R. Sunstein, founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School, will give the first talk of the spring 2016 semester for the Behavioral Sciences Workshop at Yale.  He will be presenting his paper titled “Do People Like Nudges?” on Thursday, January 21 from 12:00-1:15 p.m. at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, 77 Prospect, Room A002.

Cass Sunstein is currently a professor at Harvard, served as the administrator of the office of information and regulatory affairs in the Obama administration, has served as an informal advisor to many governments on behavioral questions, and has written many books, including Choosing not to Choose: Understanding the Value of Choice (Oxford University Press, 2015).

In his talk at Yale, Professor Sunstein will address recent debates about the ethical questions associated with “nudges,” understood as approaches that steer people in certain directions while maintaining their freedom of choice. In his paper, he writes, “Evidence about people’s views cannot resolve the ethical questions, but in democratic societies (and nondemocratic ones as well), those views will inevitably affect what public officials are willing to do. Existing evidence, including a nationally representative survey, supports six general conclusions.”  These six conclusions will form the body of his presentation.

The Behavioral Sciences Workshop is an interdisciplinary seminar series featuring speakers of broad appeal in the behavioral sciences.  The workshop is held jointly between the Yale departments of Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and the School of Management (SOM).  The Center for the Study of American Politics at the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS) is sponsoring the workshop in its inaugural year.