Soft Paternalism, Merit Goods, and Normative Individualism
Paternalism is an attempt to influence individuals’ decisions for their own benefit, even if there are no third parties involved. This seems to contradict normative individualism, which provides the general orientation to our modern democracies. Soft or libertarian paternalism accepts the necessity of paternalism due to the existence of behavioural anomalies, but intends to apply only such measures that do not restrict the decision leeway of individuals. Nevertheless, the same objections that can be raised against its strong version can also be raised against soft paternalism. On the other hand, as soon as we accept that human beings are able to reflect not only about their actions but also about the preferences guiding their actions, there is no longer a necessary contradiction between paternalism and normative individualism. As far as we know today, the possibilities to successfully apply soft paternalistic measures are rather limited. On the other hand, while some criticisms of it are justified, others largely overshoot the mark and seem to be at least partly ideologically motivated.
|Date of creation:||2014|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich|
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo.de
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Philippe Robert-Demontrond & R. Ringoot, 2004. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00081823, HAL.
- Peter Kooreman & Henriëtte Prast, 2010. "What Does Behavioral Economics Mean for Policy? Challenges to Savings and Health Policies in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(2), pages 101-122, June.
- H. M. Shefrin & Richard Thaler, 1977.
"An Economic Theory of Self-Control,"
NBER Working Papers
0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 334.
- Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "Nudges and norms: On the political economy of soft paternalism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 266-277.
- Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 1994. "Constitutional Economics and Its Relevance for the Evolution of Rules," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 321-39.
- Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
- Jan Schnellenbach, 2011. "Wohlwollendes Anschubsen: Was ist mit liberalem Paternalismus zu erreichen und was sind seine Nebenwirkungen?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 445-459, November.
- Robert Sugden, 2008. "Why incoherent preferences do not justify paternalism," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 226-248, September.
- Kliemt, Hartmut, 1986. "The veil of insignificance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 333-344.
- Jessica Wisdom & Julie S. Downs & George Loewenstein, 2010. "Promoting Healthy Choices: Information versus Convenience," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 164-78, April.
- David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003.
"Why Have Americans Become More Obese?,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
- David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
- Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 2004. "An Introduction to the Status Quo," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 127-132, 06.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4688. 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: (Julio Saavedra)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.