George Osborne endorses Nudge

Over the past month, there has been a lot of media coverage in the British press about the ideas in Nudge. We wanted to link to one Guardian piece in particular by George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, who helped spearhead David Cameron’s campaign to lead the Conservative Party, and is now in charge of coordinating the Conservative Party’s General Election Campaign.

For our U.S. readers, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer has no exact constitutional equivalent in the American political system. The position is akin to the minority party’s chief spokesperson for economic matters. Current Prime Minister Gordon Brown was once the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Labour Party was out of power.

Of note is Osborne’s support for cooling off policies. (Note: Thaler and Sunstein have written about cooling off policies, but ultimately did not fully endorse them in Nudge).

Take store cards, for example. Right now, consumers are often enticed to sign up for a store card at the shop counter, only to end up lumbered with problem debts because they hadn’t had a chance to think about what they were doing. That’s why, as part of a set of policies to tackle problems with personal debt, we will introduce new rules that mean people are given a cooling off period of at least seven days between signing up for a store card and being able to use it. This will give people the opportunity to stop and think about whether other forms of credit might offer them better value, or whether they want to make that purchase at all.



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