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Abstract

Nearly a decade has passed since Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein published Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (hereinafter, “Nudge”). The bestselling book drew popular attention to “libertarian paternalism,” a policy approach Thaler and Sunstein had previously proposed in their academic writing. Though somewhat controversial from the start, the notion of libertarian paternalism quickly gained traction among policymakers all over the world. Given Nudge’s success over the last decade in capturing the attention of policymakers and generating concrete policy proposals, it is worth pausing to assess how the libertarian paternalist project is faring. What is working? What is not? How, if at all, should the libertarian paternalist project be adjusted going forward? On October 21, 2016, a group of prominent law professors and economists – some Nudge enthusiasts (including Sunstein himself), some skeptics – convened at the University of Missouri School of Law for a symposium addressing those questions. The bulk of this issue of the Missouri Law Review consists of articles based on the ideas presented at that symposium, Evaluating Nudge: A Decade of Libertarian Paternalism.

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