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Nudges and norms: On the political economy of soft paternalism

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  • Schnellenbach, Jan

Abstract

This paper discusses soft (or libertarian) paternalism, as proposed among others by Thaler and Sunstein (2008). It is argued that soft paternalism should not be understood as an efficiency-enhancing, but as a redistributive concept. The relationship between soft paternalism and social norms is discussed in detail. In particular, it is argued that soft paternalism increases the stability of given social norms, which in turn need not be efficient, nor in the material self-interest of a majority of individuals. Soft paternalism is argued to be an essentially conservative concept of policy-making in the sense that it tends to increase the longevity of status quo social norms.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 28 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 266-277

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:28:y:2012:i:2:p:266-277

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

Related research

Keywords: Libertarian paternalism; Soft paternalism; Social norms; Informal institutions; Behavioral political economics; Sour grapes; Expressive behavior;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2014. "Soft Paternalism, Merit Goods, and Normative Individualism," CESifo Working Paper Series 4688, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  3. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Opportunity and Preference Learning," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  4. Kirchgässner, Gebhard, 2012. "Sanfter Paternalismus, meritorische Güter, und der normative Individualismus," Economics Working Paper Series 1217, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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