Nudge and Abortion Followup
By Bryan Caplan
“Nudge and Abortion” has sparked a lively Twitter debate. Leigh Caldwell has most thoughtful reaction:
My response to Leigh: I didn’t bring up the regret of the childless to show that women regret abortions. The two claims are indeed quite different. I brought up the regret of the childless to rebut the objection that people’s ex post assessment of their childbearing outcomes simply reflects status quo bias. There really is an asymmetry: Buyer’s remorse is rare, non-buyer’s remorse is common.
In any case, I can easily streamline my preference premise. Key claim: Women who want abortions often expect having the child to be a disaster, even though women who carry unwanted pregnancies to term very rarely see it that way. This big divergence between ex ante assumption and ex post experience is a golden opportunity for nudging to ultimately make people better off in their own eyes.
To repeat, I oppose government nudging (except cutting government spending, if that counts). But I’d think that friends of government nudging would welcome my suggestions.