Greening the Brain

In the Times Magazine, Jon Gertner takes a look at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED), which is dedicated to analyzing how people make environmental decisions. CRED has discovered, for instance, that if a carbon tax is framed as an “offset” instead of a “tax,” it makes a substantial difference in how people, particularly Republicans, feel about it. (Yes, behavioral nudges are going mainstream.) “I think there’s an attractive version of the carbon tax if somebody thought about its design,” says one decision scientist. Good news for Steve Levitt, Eric Morris, and Greg Mankiw. [%comments]


That's not a 'nudge.' A nudge as I understand it, is toward one free choice over another. This is the opposite of that. It's marketing deception, pure and simple.

A nudge is supposedly libertarian paternalism. A "carbon offset" is Orwellian paternalism.


I too thought that this is a sales job.

A real environmental nudge would be to have a drinking fountain with free 12oz paper cups next to the plastic bottled water vending machine...