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Revisiting the Behavioral Revolution in Economics

Over the past 15 years, as behavioral sciences gained widespread recognition, economics has progressively acknowledged the significance of the biases that drive individuals and firms to behave irrationally. But the much-needed epistemic revolution has failed to materialize, owing to economists’ resistance to change.

CAMBRIDGE – In 2008, University of Chicago economist (and future Nobel laureate) Richard Thaler and Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein published their book Nudge, which popularized the idea that subtle design changes in the architecture of choice (“nudges”) can influence our behavior. The book became a global phenomenon and marked an intellectual watershed. But 15 years after its publication, the question remains: Has behavioral economics lived up to the hype?