Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hold, Nudge, Gamble

Large groups of drinkers should forgo the long-standing tradition where each one has to buy a drink for the entire party to try to cut down on binge drinking.

The suggestion was made by Richard Thaler, a professor at Chicago University, and a key adviser to the Prime Minister on behavioural economics or “nudge” policy.

He said he had discussed the plan with a senior official in the Cabinet Office. “These are the kinds of things that policy makers and publicans should be thinking about,” he said.
No they aren't the sort of things that policy makers should be thinking about. It is none of their business. The last government's misguided meddling in pursuit of an imaginary, aspirational continental cafe culture deeply damaged local pubs, while turning city centres into weekend evening "no go" areas for all but feral youth.

The whole Thaler phenomenon is actually sinister. There is a Behavioural Insight Team inside Downing Street, inspired and advised by the Chicago academic.

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