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Obesity as Market Failure: Could a 'Deliberative Economy' Overcome the Problems of Paternalism?

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  • Paul Anand
  • Alastair Gray

Abstract

The paper argues that the problem of obesity can usefully be seen as illustrating a new kind of market failure. At the heart of such failures is the emergence of a sub-optimal choice environment which, though derived from a large number of small individual optimising decisions, is not the choice environment that people would choose if they were able to choose the environment itself. This idea is claimed to be consistent with modern economic theories of freedom of choice and applicable particularly to choice environments that emerge in highly competitive market situations. The retail supply of food and consumer credit is discussed by way of example. Concluding, the paper develops the concept of a 'deliberative economy' as an alternative to liberal paternalism and explores conditions under which such an approach to social choice might deliver desirable outcomes. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 62 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 182-190

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:62:y:2009:i:2:p:182-190

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0023-5962

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Cited by:
  1. Martin Binder & Leonhard K. Lades, 2013. "Autonomy-enhancing paternalism," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  2. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Opportunity and Preference Learning," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  3. Ljungvall, Åsa, 2013. "The Freer the Fatter? A Panel Study of the Relationship between Body-Mass Index and Economic Freedom," Working Papers 2013:23, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  4. Christian Schubert & Martin Binder, 2014. "Reconciling Normative and Behavioral Economics: An Application of the “Naturalistic Approach” to the Adaptation Problem," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 234(2-3), pages 350-365, April.
  5. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Is novelty always a good thing? Towards an evolutionary welfare economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 585-619, July.
  6. Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "Nudges and norms: On the political economy of soft paternalism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 266-277.
  7. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Pursuing Happiness," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-01, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.

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