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Behavioral Public Economics: Welfare and Policy Analysis with Non-Standard Decision-Makers

  • B. Douglas Bernheim

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

  • Antonio Rangel

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

This paper has two goals. First, we discuss several emerging approaches to applied welfare analysis under non-standard (“behavioral”) assumptions concerning consumer choice. This provides a foundation for Behavioral Public Economics. Second, we illustrate applications of these approaches by surveying behavioral studies of policy problems involving saving, addiction, and public goods. We argue that the literature on behavioral public economics, though in its infancy, has already fundamentally changed our understanding of public policy in each of these domains.

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Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 04-033.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:04-033
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  4. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "The Timing of Retirement: A Comparison of Expectations and Realizations," NBER Working Papers 2291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Martin Feldstein, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-320.
  9. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-46, December.
  10. Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Effects of Financial Education in the Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Employers," Working Papers 96011, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  11. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2003. "The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: Anticipated and Actual Declines in Spending at Retirement," Working Papers 03-12, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  12. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
  13. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
  14. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  15. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2009. "Time-Inconsistency And Welfare Program Participation: Evidence From The Nlsy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1043-1077, November.
  16. Ornstein, Stanley I & Hanssens, Dominique M, 1985. " Alcohol Control Laws and the Consumption of Distilled Spirits and Beer," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 200-213, September.
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  18. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
  19. Steinberg, Richard S, 1987. "Voluntary Donations and Public Expenditures in a Federal System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 24-36, March.
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  21. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "Do Government Grants to Private Charities Crowd Out Giving or Fund-raising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 792-812, June.
  22. Kingma, Bruce Robert, 1989. "An Accurate Measurement of the Crowd-Out Effect, Income Effect, and Price Effect for Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1197-1207, October.
  23. Harbaugh, William T., 1998. "What do donations buy?: A model of philanthropy based on prestige and warm glow," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 269-284, February.
  24. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2003. "Altruistic Punishment in Humans," Microeconomics 0305006, EconWPA.
  25. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," NBER Working Papers 6227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Selahattin İmrohoroğlu & Douglas H. Joines, 2003. "Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Social Security," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 745-784.
  27. Walstad, William B & Soper, John C, 1988. "A Report Card on the Economic Literacy of U.S. High School Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 251-56, May.
  28. Krusell Per & Kuruscu Burhanettin & Anthony Smith, 2000. "Tax Policy with Quasi-Geometric Discounting," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 1-40.
  29. Jen Shang & Rachel Croson, 2006. "Field experiments in charitable contribution: The impact of social influence on the voluntary provision of public goods," Natural Field Experiments 00323, The Field Experiments Website.
  30. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo 80, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
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  33. Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  34. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1996. "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 701-728, June.
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  36. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  37. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  38. Warshawsky, Mark, 1987. "Sensitivity to Market Incentives: The Case of Policy Loans," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 286-95, May.
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