Economics

Behavioral Economics: Useful Even If Not New

Advertisers have used it for ages; now it's government's turn.

This guy isn't buying it.

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

In Germany, about 12 percent of people consent to be organ donors; in Austria it’s 99.9 percent. This huge gap is the product not of “different cultures, different norms, or extraordinarily effective educational campaigns in Austria,” legal scholar Cass Sunstein wrote in a recent paper, but of a simple legal nudge. “In Austria, consent is presumed, subject to opt out. In Germany, consent is not presumed, and people have to opt in.”

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