How Change Happens by Cass R. SunsteinHow Change Happens by Cass R. Sunstein

How Change Happens

byCass R. Sunstein

Hardcover | April 9, 2019

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The different ways that social change happens, from unleashing to nudging to social cascades.

How does social change happen? When do social movements take off? Sexual harassment was once something that women had to endure; now a movement has risen up against it. White nationalist sentiments, on the other hand, were largely kept out of mainstream discourse; now there is no shortage of media outlets for them. In this book, with the help of behavioral economics, psychology, and other fields, Cass Sunstein casts a bright new light on how change happens.

Sunstein focuses on the crucial role of social norms-and on their frequent collapse. When norms lead people to silence themselves, even an unpopular status quo can persist. Then one day, someone challenges the norm-a child who exclaims that the emperor has no clothes; a woman who says "me too." Sometimes suppressed outrage is unleashed, and long-standing practices fall.

Sometimes change is more gradual, as "nudges" help produce new and different decisions-apps that count calories; texted reminders of deadlines; automatic enrollment in green energy or pension plans. Sunstein explores what kinds of nudges are effective and shows why nudges sometimes give way to bans and mandates. Finally, he considers social divisions, social cascades, and "partyism," when identification with a political party creates a strong bias against all members of an opposing party-which can both fuel and block social change.

Title:How Change HappensFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.12 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 1.12 inPublished:April 9, 2019Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262039575

ISBN - 13:9780262039574

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Cass Sunstein's new book is a tour de force exploring one of the most urgent problems of our time: how and why seemingly stable societal norms collapse and long-standing institutions come apart. Containing a feast of ideas on policy intervention, the book is bound to open up new avenues of research, and deserves to be read by students of economics, law, and politics.-Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Cornell University