Editor's note

Governments around the world are increasingly using behavioral insights, rather than merely rigid laws, to prod citizens to make better choices. These “nudges” received more attention this week after economist Richard Thaler won a Nobel Prize for his work in behavioral economics. Research shows nudges are an effective way to improve eating habits or help people save money, but could they be seen as a form of manipulation? Cass Sunstein, Thaler’s co-author and a professor at Harvard, explains why most people disagree and welcome nudges that help them live better lives.

When it comes to economic policy, the Trump administration is laser-focused on lifting regulations on industry, as we saw this week with its proposal to rescind the EPA Clean Power Plan. But regulations can actually benefit businesses and serve a public purpose, says University of Texas historian Jeremi Suri, who takes us from the time of the robber barons to today.

It’s been over week since Stephen Paddock shot and killed 58 concertgoers from his Las Vegas hotel room, and investigators still can’t figure out his motive. What if there isn’t one, wonders University at Buffalo urban sociologist Mark Gottdiener. What if Paddock were simply a malignant outgrowth of a city with excessive indulgence in its DNA?

Bryan Keogh

Editor, Economics and Business

Top story

A product’s calorie label is a common form of nudging behavior. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Do people like government 'nudges'? Study says: Yes

Cass Sunstein, Harvard University

Government initiatives to prod people to make better decisions got a lot of attention after Richard Thaler won a Nobel in economics for his working on nudging.

Environment + Energy

Arts + Culture

Politics + Society

Science + Technology

Economy + Business

Ethics + Religion

  • How a growing Christian movement is seeking to change America

    Brad Christerson, Biola University; Richard Flory, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

    A prayer rally recently organized in Washington, DC is part of a growing movement, that scholars call 'Independent Network Christianity.'

Trending on site

Today’s quote

If Congress were to end the estate tax, as the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers propose, the government might miss those funds. What’s more, nonprofits could see their budgets pinched by a decline in giving.


How closing the door on the estate tax could reduce American giving

Patrick Rooney

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Patrick Rooney