In preparing for our Wednesday class on Objections, I read a few online book reviews of Nudge. From those I garnered that regardless of your views on the recommendations in the chapter on Privatizing Marriage, we should be able to agree that those recommendations are not nudges. The recommendations represent large changes from the current arrangement.
So one wonders why that chapter was included in the book. I don't know Sunstein and Thaler, but I have no problem imagining them being very enthusiastic for their own recommendations as I often get infatuated with ideas I come up with on my own. Then since they were doing this collaboration, shoehorning the ideas into the book might not be too much of a stretch. An editor is supposed to filter out author indiscretions, but when the book is likely to be popular and the authors can go to a different publisher, the authors retain some control.
On my initial reading of the book, it didn't occur to me that the suggestions in this chapter were not nudges. I am not sure what I would have done about it, but quite possibly nothing. That getting married is a time when homo economics is on vacation makes it a relevant topic for the class. In my case, and as a trained economist I am mainly rational about things, when I was dating my not yet then wife, I told her money grows on trees. Even though we still love each other very much, that wasn't a very shrewd thing to say and we both know that now.
That members of the class disagree about the recommendations in the chapter is not surprising. We've had disagreements before, mainly on whether paternalism is acceptable and if so when, also on whether government can be trusted to deliver the goods. The disagreements today were of a different nature. I didn't anticipate that outcome. I wonder if others in the class did, which would put you a few steps ahead of me.