From Cass Sunstein and Richard H. Thaler, "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness" (p. 71). From section of the chapter titled "Following the Herd," which deals with "priming," one of the influences on human behavior that government can figure out how to use.
I was searching through my ebook of "Nudge" today after writing that post about offering drug-addicted women $300 to get themselves sterilized. Offering money is the crudest way to incentivize behavior you don't want to compel (or can't — ethically or legally — compel), and I was interested in whether Sunstein and Thaler talked about sterilization. They don't, but they do talk about deterring pregnancy:
Teenage girls who see that other teenagers are having children are more likely to become pregnant themselves. Obesity is contagious. If your best friends get fat, your risk of gaining weight goes up.... (Page 55.)
Teenage pregnancy is a serious problem for many girls, and those who have one child, at (say) eighteen, often become pregnant again within a year or two. Several cities, including Greensboro, North Carolina, have experimented with a “dollar a day” program, by which teenage girls with a baby receive a dollar for each day in which they are not pregnant. Thus far the results have been extremely promising. A dollar a day is a trivial cost to the city, even for a year or two, so the plan’s total cost is extremely low, but the small recurring payment is salient enough to encourage teenage mothers to take steps to avoid getting pregnant again. And because taxpayers end up paying a significant amount for many children born to teenagers, the costs appear to be far less than the benefits. Many people are touting “dollar a day” as a model program for helping reduce teenage pregnancies. (Surely there are more such programs to be invented. Consider that a nudge to think of one.) (Page 234.)Consider that a nudge to think of one? Are you nudged to rethink free birth control?
ADDED: The notion that hot coffee makes people less selfish and more "sociable" reminds me of the Coffee Party. Remember that? The liberal answer to the Tea Party.