In Defense of Intentionally Shaping People's Choices

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In defense of nudging policies, proponents have pointed out that choice architecture is inevitable. However, critics have objected that shaping people’s choices in an intentional way is not inevitable and involves an objectionable substitution of judgment, with the choice architect imposing his will on others. Accordingly, the inevitability of choice architecture in general does not provide reason to accept intentional nudges. In contrast to this view, the paper argues that precisely because the choice architects will unavoidably contribute to people’s choices, it is permissible for them to consider the content of the choices that their choice architecture promotes. Specifically, I argue that it is often within choice architects’, including states’, own legitimate sphere of control whether they want to contribute to other people’s behaviors through their organization of the choice architecture. It is argued that such intentional choice architecture does not involve objectionable substitution of judgment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Pages (from-to)1335–1344
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • choice architecture
  • legitimate sphere of control
  • nudging
  • substitution of judgment
  • the inevitability argument

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