Barack Obama

White House Creating "Nudge Squad" to Get Us to All Act "Better"

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Over at FoxNews.com, Maxim Lott writes about a new "nudge squad" coming out of the Obama White House:

The federal government is hiring what it calls a "Behavioral Insights Team" that will look for ways to subtly influence people's behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com. Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient. 

While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. 

"Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals," reads the government document describing the program, which goes on to call for applicants to apply for positions on the team.

What sorts of nudging is likely to happen? Possible uses include getting people to pay up back taxes, exercise more, and eat better.

Critics point out that a) expert advice is often proven wrong quickly after being implemented and b) government might have more essential functions that gulling citizens into acting one way or another.

Read the whole article here.

And go here to read the document sent around to academics by White House Senior Adviser Maya Shankar.