If nudge cannot be applied: a litmus test of the readers’ stance on paternalism
A central question in many debates on paternalism is whether a decision analyst can ever go against the stated preference of a client, even if merely intending to improve the decisions for the client. Using four gedanken-experiments, this paper shows that this central question, so cleverly and aptly avoided by libertarian paternalism (nudge), cannot always be avoided. The four thought experiments, while purely hypothetical, serve to raise and specify the critical arguments in a maximally clear and pure manner. The first purpose of the paper is, accordingly, to provide a litmus test on the readers’ stance on paternalism. We thus also survey and organize the various stances in the literature. The secondary purpose of this paper is to argue that paternalism cannot always be avoided and consumer sovereignty cannot always be respected. However, this argument will remain controversial. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Juan Dubra & Fabio Maccheroni & Efe Oki, 2001.
"Expected utility theory without the completeness axiom,"
ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series
11-2001, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
- Dubra, Juan & Maccheroni, Fabio & Ok, Efe A., 2004. "Expected utility theory without the completeness axiom," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 118-133, March.
- Juan Dubra & Fabio Maacheroni & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Expected Utility Theory without the Completeness Axiom," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1294, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Han Bleichrodt & José María Abellán-Perpiñan & JoséLuis Pinto & Ildefonso Méndez-Martínez, 2005.
"Resolving inconsistencies in utility measurement under risk: Tests of generalizations of expected utility,"
Economics Working Papers
798, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Han Bleichrodt & Jose Maria Abellan-Perpiñan & Jose Luis Pinto-Prades & Ildefonso Mendez-Martinez, 2007. "Resolving Inconsistencies in Utility Measurement Under Risk: Tests of Generalizations of Expected Utility," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(3), pages 469-482, March.
- Han Bleichrodt & Jose María Abellán Perpiñán & Jose Luis Pinto-Prades & Ildefonso Méndez-Martínez, 2006. "Resolving Inconsistencies in Utility Measurement under Risk: Tests of Generalizations of Expected Utility," Working Papers 06.19, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
- Han Bleichrodt & Jose Luis Pinto & Peter P. Wakker, 2001. "Making Descriptive Use of Prospect Theory to Improve the Prescriptive Use of Expected Utility," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(11), pages 1498-1514, November.
- Ulrich Schmidt & Stefan Traub, 2009.
"An Experimental Investigation of the Disparity Between WTA and WTP for Lotteries,"
Theory and Decision,
Springer, vol. 66(3), pages 229-262, March.
- Schmidt, Ulrich & Traub, Stefan, 2009. "An experimental investigation of the disparity between WTA and WTP for lotteries," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 28786, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
- Traub, Stefan & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2006. "An Experimental Investigation of the Disparity between WTA and WTP for Lotteries," Economics Working Papers 2006,09, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
- Baucells, Manel & Shapley, Lloyd S., 2008.
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 329-347, March.
- Lloyd S. Shapley & Manel Baucells, 1998. "Multiperson Utility," UCLA Economics Working Papers 779, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Manel Baucells & Lloyd S. Shapley, 2000. "Multiperson Utility," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0078, Econometric Society.
- Lefèbvre, Mathieu & Vieider, Ferdinand M. & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2009.
"The Ratio Bias Phenomenon: Fact or Artifact?,"
IZA Discussion Papers
4546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Mathieu Lefebvre & Ferdinand Vieider & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2009. "The Ratio Bias Phenomenon : Fact or Artifact ?," Working Papers 0925, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
- Mathieu Lefebvre & Ferdinand Vieider & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2011. "The Ratio Bias Phenomenon : Fact or Artifact ?," Post-Print halshs-00435956, HAL.
- Berg, Nathan & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2010. "As-if behavioral economics: Neoclassical economics in disguise?," MPRA Paper 26586, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew W. Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2008.
"Probability and Uncertainty in Economic Modeling,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 173-88, Summer.
- Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
- Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
- Susan Chilton & Anne Spencer, 2001. "Empirical evidence of inconsistency in Standard Gamble choices under direct and indirect elicitation methods," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 137(I), pages 65-86, March.
- Payne, John W & Bettman, James R & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Measuring Constructed Preferences: Towards a Building Code," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 243-70, December.
- Daniel McFadden, 2006. "Free Markets and Fettered Consumers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 5-29, March.
- Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
- Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2007.
"Probability and Uncertainty in Economic Modeling, Second Version,"
PIER Working Paper Archive
08-002, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 28 Jan 2008.
- Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2005.
"Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice,"
04-031, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2007. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 745-788, June.
- Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2005. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," NBER Working Papers 11461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dolan, Paul, 2000. "The measurement of health-related quality of life for use in resource allocation decisions in health care," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 32, pages 1723-1760 Elsevier.
- Eric Danan, 2010.
"Randomization vs. selection: How to choose in the absence of preference?,"
- Eric Danan, 2010. "Randomization vs. Selection: How to Choose in the Absence of Preference?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(3), pages 503-518, March.
- John Hey, 2005. "Why We Should Not Be Silent About Noise," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 325-345, December.
- McFadden, Daniel, 1999.
"Rationality for Economists?,"
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,
Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 73-105, December.
- Ben McQuillin & Robert Sugden, 2012. "Reconciling normative and behavioural economics: the problems to be solved," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 553-567, April.
- Richardson, J., 1994. "Cost utility analysis: What should be measured?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 7-21, July.
- 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.
- Adam Oliver, 2013. "Should Behavioural Economic Policy Be Anti‐Regulatory?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 373-375, 04.
- Juan Dubra & Fabio Maccheroni & Efe A. Ok, 2004. "Expected Utility Without the Completeness Axiom," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm404, Yale School of Management.
- Chris Starmer, 1996. "Explaining risky choices without assuming preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 201-213, April.
- Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986.
"A Theory of Rational Addiction,"
University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State
41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
- 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.
- John C. Hershey & Paul J. H. Schoemaker, 1985. "Probability Versus Certainty Equivalence Methods in Utility Measurement: Are they Equivalent?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(10), pages 1213-1231, October.
- Eric J. Johnson & David A. Schkade, 1989. "Bias in Utility Assessments: Further Evidence and Explanations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(4), pages 406-424, April.
- Mandler, Michael, 2005. "Incomplete preferences and rational intransitivity of choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 255-277, February.
- Diamond, Peter, 2008. "Behavioral economics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1858-1862, August.
- Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
- Morrison, Gwendolyn C, 2000. "The Endowment Effect and Expected Utility," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(2), pages 183-97, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:76:y:2014:i:3:p:297-315. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.