The New York Times‘ Idea of the Day blog reports on the appeal of Thaler and Sunstein’s ideas in Britain, especially among conservatives:

“Behavioral economics has been embraced by the British right in particular,” writes Matthew Taylor in Prospect. David Cameron, shown here, the Conservative considered the country’s likely next leader, seeks to “refashion the Tories’ whole approach to regulation” based on the insights of “Nudge,” the book Sunstein co-wrote with Richard Thaler.

Ideas like “save tomorrow” — getting people to sign up now to make bigger pension contributions next year — appeal to the “conservative brain,” writes Taylor, because they preserve individual choice while leveraging human nature toward responsible action: “The fact that the financial sacrifice is in the future means people will sign up; inertia prevents them changing it later.”  

[To the tune of The Band, “The Weight,” from the album Music From Big Pink (I give it 5 stars).]