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Opportunity and Preference Learning

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  • Christian Schubert

Abstract

Robert Sugden has recently elaborated upon the case for a normative standard of freedom as "opportunity" that is supposed to cope with the problem of how to realign normative economics - with its traditional rational choice orientation - with behavioral economics. His standard, though, presupposes that people respond to uncertainty about their own future preferences by dismissing any kind of self-commitment. We argue that the approach lacks psychological substance: Sugden's normative benchmark - the "responsible person" - is a purely artificial construct that can hardly serve as a convincing role model in a contractarian setting. An alternative concept is introduced, and some policy implications are briefly discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Schubert, 2012. "Opportunity and Preference Learning," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-08, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2012-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dold, Malte, 2017. "Back to Buchanan? Explorations of welfare and subjectivism in behavioral economics," Discussion Paper Series 2017-03, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    2. Schubert, Christian, 2017. "Green nudges: Do they work? Are they ethical?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 329-342.
    3. Jan Schnellenbach, 2016. "A Constitutional Economics Perspective on Soft Paternalism," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 135-156, February.
    4. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Behavioral political economy: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 395-417.
    5. Christian Schubert, 2015. "On the ethics of public nudging: Autonomy and Agency," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201533, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    6. Martin Binder, 2014. "Should evolutionary economists embrace libertarian paternalism?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 515-539, July.
    7. Christian Schubert & Andreas Chai, 2012. "Sustainable Consumption and Consumer Sovereignty," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-14, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    8. repec:kap:theord:v:83:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11238-017-9625-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    10. Ryota Nakamura & Marc Suhrcke & Daniel John Zizzo, 2017. "A triple test for behavioral economics models and public health policy," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 513-533, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Opportunity Criterion; Preference Change; Reconciliation Problem;

    JEL classification:

    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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