Scientific second-order ’nudging’ or lobbying by interest groups: the battle over Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programmes
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- Ploug, T., Holm, S. & Brodersen, J. Med Health Care and Philos (2014) 17: 641. doi:10.1007/s11019-014-9566-9
The idea that it is acceptable to ‘nudge’ people to opt for the ‘healthy choice’ is gaining currency in health care policy circles. This article investigates whether researchers evaluating Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programmes (AAASP) attempt to influence decision makers in ways that are similar to popular ‘nudging’ techniques. Comparing two papers on the health economics of AAASP both published in the BMJ within the last 3 years, it is shown that the values chosen for the health economics modelling are not representative of the literature and consistently favour the conclusions of the articles. It is argued (1) that this and other features of these articles may be justified within a Libertarian Paternalist framework as ‘nudging’ like ways of influencing decision makers, but also (2) that these ways of influencing decision makers raise significant ethical issues in the context of democratic decision making.