Choice architecture and constitutional values: a nudge towards equality

In recent years, the use of nudges as regulatory tools—including disclosures, graphic and textual warnings, default rules, alterations of physical environments, messaging of social norms, and other forms of choice architecture—has gained increasing attention. While nudge literature typically focuses on the impact of nudging on constitutional values such as human dignity, autonomy, transparency, and welfare, the value of equality is quite often overlooked. Accordingly, this paper seeks to correct this oversight by discussing two phenomena. Firstly, how existing inequalities among nudge recipients can undermine the effectiveness and legitimacy of choice architecture. Secondly, how certain kinds of nudges can either reinforce or overcome existing social stigmas. In light of this analysis, it is argued that nudging can indeed promote equality, as long as it is complemented by other traditional regulatory techniques and takes into account existing inequalities between its recipients.