Essay about The Ideas And Theories Presented By Richard H. Thaler And Cass R.

Essay about The Ideas And Theories Presented By Richard H. Thaler And Cass R.

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The ideas and theories presented in Nudge were very insightful. With the recent state of Congress failing to agree and make continuous progress at a reasonable rate, nudges seem to be an ever more relevant construct. In this essay I will examine the techniques and theories mentioned in the novel written by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein as well as determine a plan to nudge students away from binge drinking here at the College of Charleston.
Before discussing solutions to binge drinking at the College, it is necessary to consider what influences students in the first place. The book introduces observations about human nature that inhibit good decision-making. One element that I find increasingly relevant to students is “the herd behavior” (pg. 54). The authors put it well when they write: “that people like to do what most people think it is right to do… people like to do what most people actually do”(pg. 184). This creates a social inertia that makes it difficult for individuals to make the ‘right’ decision when it contradicts what is most popular.
Efforts toward mitigating the effects of popular norms should be targeted at the sources of influence. Greek life, clubs and sports teams are all sources of influence for the student body among others. These organizations all create events that gather students together. Such events can create an environment conducive to emotional decision-making. The book’s definition of emotional decision-making says that when people are in an aroused state they are more easily nudged. These events, held by key influencers, are an ideal place to present nudges.
Now that the key nudge environments have been identified, I will explore my solutions or ‘nudges’. The first nudge will comprise...


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Another element to address is this notion of “the path of least resistance” that the book presents (pg. 180). People will always do what is easiest. If the easiest way to have fun with your friends on a weekend night is walking down the street to a house party, then that will become the popular norm. If the college creates more casual student events that involve being with your friends and hanging out on campus or Marion square, this may appear easier than drinking.
In conclusion, addressing binge drinking with nudges that truly inform students of the monetary demands of binge drinking, provide incentives for the use of alternative forms of entertainment, align with what we value most, can limit it’s affects. I believe by aligning with our values of choosing the path of least resistance and loss aversion we can appropriately influence students to binge less.

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