Dictionary of Arguments

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Mause I 67
Rational Choice/Thaler/Sunstein: Cass R. Sunstein and Richard H. Thaler pursue two goals with their book Nudge (1): First, they advocate making the action-theoretical core of the rational-choice paradigm more realistic. They criticize the idea that people are able to make rational decisions on the basis of cost-benefit calculations, without being influenced by internal states (such as anxiety, anger or indignation) and intervening external factors (i.e., preferences are exogenous). Sunstein and Thaler argue that humans are not as rational as the model suggests. Rather, people make systematic mistakes, they decide and act irrationally and are therefore not always able to make decisions that are for their own good. This calls into question the basic assumption of libertarianism and liberalism, according to which people are "the best judges of their own interest" (Mill 2004, p. 292; cf. Mill 1988, pp. 16- 17, 132), with serious consequences.


1. Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, updated ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 2009).
2. Mill, John Stuart, Principles of political economy with some of their applications to social philosophy, Hrsg. Stephen Nathanson. Indianapolis 2004.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconThaler I
Richard Thaler
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics New York 2016

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-04-26
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