The behavioural economist and the social planner: to whom should behavioural welfare economics be addressed?
AbstractThis paper compares two alternative answers to the question Ã¢â¬ËWho is the addressee of welfare economics?' These answers correspond with different understandings of the status of the normative conclusions of welfare economics, and have different implications for how welfare economics should be adapted in the light of the findings of behavioural economics. The conventional welfarist answer is that welfare economics is addressed to a Ã¢â¬Ësocial planner' whose objective is to maximise the overall well-being of society; the planner is imagined as a benevolent despot, receptive to the economist's advice. The alternative contractarian answer is that welfare economics is addressed to individuals who are seeking mutually beneficial agreements; a contractarian recommendation has the form Ã¢â¬ËIt is in the interests of each of you separately that all of you together agree to do x'. Each of these answers should be understood as a literary convention which uses a highly-simplified model of politics. I defend the contractarian approach and show that it is less supportive of Ã¢â¬Ësoft paternalism' than is the welfarist approach.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2011-21.
Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 22 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Robert Sugden, 2012. "The behavioural economist and the social planner: To whom should behavioural welfare economics be addressed?," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 12-05, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-01-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2012-01-03 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2012-01-03 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ben McQuillin & Robert Sugden, 2011.
"How the market responds to dynamically inconsistent preferences,"
Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS)
11-04, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
- Ben McQuillin & Robert Sugden, 2012. "How the market responds to dynamically inconsistent preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 617-634, April.
- Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
- Robert Sugden, 2008. "Why incoherent preferences do not justify paternalism," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 226-248, September.
- Smith, Adam, 1759. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1759.
- Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
- Richard Thaler, 1985.
"Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,"
INFORMS, vol. 4(3), pages 199-214.
- Sugden, Robert, 2010. "Opportunity As Mutual Advantage," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(01), pages 47-68, March.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
- Thomas Leonard, 2008. "Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 356-360, December.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2008.
"Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics,"
NBER Working Papers
13737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2007. "Beyond Revealed Preference Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," Discussion Papers 07-031, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 334.
- Robert Sugden, 2004. "The Opportunity Criterion: Consumer Sovereignty Without the Assumption of Coherent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1033, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christoph Mengs).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.