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Autonomy-enhancing paternalism

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  • Binder, Martin
  • Lades, Leonhard

Abstract

We present a form of soft paternalism called "autonomy-enhancing paternalism" that seeks to in-crease individual well-being by facilitating the individual ability to make critically reflected, au-tonomous decisions. The focus of autonomy-enhancing paternalism is on helping individuals to become better decision-makers, rather than on helping them by making better decisions for them. Autonomy-enhancing paternalism acknowledges that behavioral interventions can change the strength of decision-making anomalies over time, and favors those interventions that improve, ra-ther than reduce, individuals' ability to make good and unbiased decisions. By this it prevents ma-nipulation of the individual by the soft paternalist, accounts for the heterogeneity of individuals, and counteracts slippery slope arguments by decreasing the probability of future paternalistic inter-ventions. Moreover, autonomy-enhancing paternalism can be defended based on both liberal val-ues and welfare considerations.

Suggested Citation

  • Binder, Martin & Lades, Leonhard, 2014. "Autonomy-enhancing paternalism," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2014-09, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2014-09
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/20987
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Jan Schnellenbach, 2016. "A Constitutional Economics Perspective on Soft Paternalism," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 135-156, February.
    3. Pasche, Markus, 2014. "Soft Paternalism and Nudging - Critique of the Behavioral Foundations," MPRA Paper 61140, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. 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.
    5. Martin Binder, 2014. "A constitutional paradigm is not enough—would sovereign citizens really agree to manipulative nudges?—A reply to Christian Schubert," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 1115-1120, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    welfare economics; preference learning; autonomy; behavioral economics; libertarian paternalism;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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