Automatic enrolment

In public services, automatic enrolment defines programmes where citizens are automatically included unless they opt out.

Examples include:

  • Pensions in the United Kingdom as of 2012[1]
  • Organ donation in some countries such as Austria[2]

Benefits and drawbacks

Automatic enrolment is recommended in the book Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein, as it promotes higher participation rates than when citizens are left to arrange their own pensions.

Libertarians argue against automatic enrolment as it impinges on an individual’s freedom of choice.


  1. ^BBC,
  2. ^Thaler, Richard H. (September 26, 2009). “Opting in vs. Opting Out”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 8, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.

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