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.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group 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 Economics; 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)
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