Nudge

Nudge

Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

we know something about how much the choice of the default matters in this domain. Using an online survey, the researchers asked people, in different ways, whether they would be willing to be donors. In the explicit consent condition, participants were told that they had just moved to a new state where the default was not to be an organ donor, and they were given the option of confirming or changing that status. In the presumed consent version, the wording was identical but the default was to be a donor. In the third, neutral, condition, there was no mention of a default—they just had to choose. Under all three conditions, the response was entered literally with one click. As you will now expect, the default mattered—a lot. When participants had to opt in to being an organ donor, only 42 percent did so. But when they had to opt out, 82 percent agreed to be donors. Surprisingly, almost as many people (79 percent) agreed to be donors in the neutral condition.

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