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Paternalism With Hindsight Do protégés react consequentialistically to paternalism?

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  • Mitesh Kataria

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

  • M. Vittoria Levati

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, and University of Verona)

  • Matthias Uhl

    (Technical University of Munich)

Abstract

We investigate experimentally whether the protégés' reaction to paternalism depends on the consequences of the paternalistic action to their well-being. We find that protégé punish a paternalist restricting their freedom of choice. Yet, this negative reaction is not based on principled grounds because, with hindsight, protégés punish the paternalist only if the restriction makes them worse off. Conversely, if the restriction makes them better off, the protégé on average do not punish and, sometimes, they even reward the paternalist. This suggests that protégés take a consequentialist stand on paternalism. Controlling for intentions ascribed to the patron does not alter our finding.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2012-050.

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Date of creation: 10 Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-050

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Keywords: Paternalism; Consequentialism; Value of freedom; Experiment;

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  1. Verme, Paolo, 2009. "Happiness, freedom and control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 146-161, August.
  2. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Welfare, preference and freedom," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 15-29, October.
  4. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
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