Judging Nudging: Answering the Manipulation Objection

Thomas Nys, Bart Engelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Is it ever justified to ‘nudge’ people towards their own health? In this article, we argue that it is. We do so by arguing (1) that nudges are not necessarily – as is commonly thought – manipulative; (2) that even those nudges that are manipulative can be justified, for instance, when they preserve rather than violate people’s autonomy; and (3) that even if nudges can be said to violate some people’s autonomy, they can still be the legitimate outcome of genuinely democratic procedures. While we do not regard nudging as the solution to all or even most public health problems, we argue for a piecemeal approach that carefully considers its benefits and downsides in light of the various values involved and the alternatives at hand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-214
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number1
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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