2018 (15), №3

The Concept of «Nudging» in Behavioral Economics: Critical Notes and New Ideas



For citation: 

Grebenkin, A. V.(2018). The Concept of «Nudging» in Behavioral Economics: Critical Notes and New Ideas. Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 15(3), 377-384


The purpose of the article is a critical review of one of the concepts belonging to behavioral economics theory — «libertarian paternalism» that was put forward and promoted to political markets by the American economist Richard Thaler. The methodological basis for the analysis of the interaction of the behavioral economics with institutional theory was the works of T. Eggertsson, D. North, W. Baumol, V. Avtonomov, R. Kapelyushnikov, V. Polterovich, A. Libman and other scientists. The author questions the expediency of universal application (in countries with different types of political regimes) of the idea about «easy pushing» by the state of irrationally (by nature) thinking individuals. For countries with authoritarian types of regimes (including Russia), this method is premature, dangerous, because it legitimizes compulsion and does not guarantee the adoption of decisions that are positive for the individual and the commonweal. As an alternative, the article proposes a hypothesis on the need to form an «attraction» model based on a network (and not hierarchical) principle, a mutual adaptation of economic agents into a multi-subject social environment, built into the emerging system of inclusive political and economic institutions. The author made an analysis of the intellectual baggage of the «Austrian School» representatives (L. von Mises, J. Schumpeter, I. Kirzner, H. Huerta de Soto). Based on the result of the analysis, the author made the conclusion that it is necessary to build a new generation’s (through cycles and courses of the behavioral economics) skills of self-organization, mutual adaptation, mastering to the rapid development of new knowledge, the ability to make decisions in conditions of uncertainty, to correlate their actions with intentions. Such agents will form the basis of the multi-subject attracting environment. They will be in demand in the next cycle of the revival and formation of the now «dormant» inclusive institutions in Russia. Their energy (including entrepreneurial one) will help to lead the country out of the most severe systemic crisis. The author expects a concerned discussion on the conclusions and ideas proposed in the article, as well as related problems of the developing theory of behavioral economics.

Anatoliy Viktorovich Grebenkin  – Doctor of Economics, Professor, Institute of Economics of the Ural Branch of RAS; Ural Federal University (Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation; e-mail: avgrebenkin48@yandex.ru).