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Role Models that Make You Unhappy: Light Paternalism, Social Learning and Welfare

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  • Christian Cordes

    ()

  • Christian Schubert

    ()

Abstract

Behavioral (e.g. consumption) patterns of boundedly rational agents can lead these agents into learning dynamics that appear to be “wasteful” in terms of well-being or welfare. Within settings displaying preference endogeneity, it is however still unclear how to conceptualize well-being. This paper contributes to the discussion by suggesting a formal model of preference learning that can inform the construction of alternative notions of dynamic well-being. Based on the assumption that interacting agents are subject to two biases that make them systematically prefer some cultural variants over others, a procedural notion of well-being can be developed, based on the idea that policy should identify and confine conditions that generate dynamic instability in preference trajectories.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Cordes & Christian Schubert, 2011. "Role Models that Make You Unhappy: Light Paternalism, Social Learning and Welfare," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-22, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2010-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2006. "Honestly, why are you driving a BMW?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 129-146, June.
    2. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    3. De Fraja, Gianni, 2009. "The origin of utility: Sexual selection and conspicuous consumption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 51-69, October.
    4. Joseph E. Harrington & Jr., 1999. "Rigidity of Social Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 40-64, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Binder & Leonhard K. Lades, 2015. "Autonomy-Enhancing Paternalism," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 3-27, February.
    2. Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Opportunity And Preference Learning," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(02), pages 275-295, July.
    3. Schubert, Christian, 2017. "Green nudges: Do they work? Are they ethical?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 329-342.
    4. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Is novelty always a good thing? Towards an evolutionary welfare economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 585-619, July.
    5. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Behavioral political economy: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 395-417.
    6. Terence C. Burnham, 2016. "Economics and evolutionary mismatch: humans in novel settings do not maximize," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 195-209, October.
    7. Christian Schubert, 2014. "Evolutionary economics and the case for a constitutional libertarian paternalism—a comment on Martin Binder, “should evolutionary economists embrace libertarian paternalism?”," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 1107-1113, November.
    8. Martin Binder, 2014. "Should evolutionary economists embrace libertarian paternalism?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 515-539, July.
    9. Cordes, Christian & Schwesinger, Georg, 2014. "Technological diffusion and preference learning in the world of Homo sustinens: The challenges for politics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 191-200.
    10. Lades, Leonhard K., 2014. "Impulsive consumption and reflexive thought: Nudging ethical consumer behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 114-128.
    11. Christian Schubert, 2014. "“Generalized Darwinism” and the quest for an evolutionary theory of policy-making," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 479-513, July.
    12. Schubert Christian & Binder Martin, 2014. "Reconciling Normative and Behavioral Economics: An Application of the “Naturalistic Approach” to the Adaptation Problem," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(2-3), pages 350-365, April.
    13. Klump Rainer & Wörsdörfer Manuel, 2015. "Paternalistic Economic Policies: Foundations, Implications and Critical Evaluations," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 66(1), pages 27-60, January.
    14. Binder, Martin & Lades, Leonhard K, 2014. "Autonomy-enhancing paternalism," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-02, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Learning; Preference Change; Welfare; Human Cognition; Consumer Behavior Length 33 pages;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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