Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, “Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN*. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN’. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be.

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What they in effect are saying is that unless someone meets the textbook criteria for rationality and information, he is not really choosing in the full sense. But what if the purchaser has a strong aversion to paying for repairs when an appliance has broken down? He has a choice: The authors consider a related objection, but they do not fully grasp the sinstein point.

Let us return to those who, despite the health risks, continue to smoke.

Libertarian Paternalism | Mises Institute

Unless, though, they have filled out a donor card, doctors who wish to transplant organs must secure the consent of whoever has legal custody of the body. In many instances, the cost of the sunetein, combined with the small chance that the appliance will break down, suggests that buying the warranty is a sujstein option.

But, in a free society, doing so is up to you; the state may not nudge you into this sort of contract. View the discussion thread. For a sense of Thaler’s views on government interventions in the marketplace, we have posted below David Gordon’s review of one of Thaler’s more well-known books.

Sometimes their contention has merit.

Libertarian paternalism – Wikipedia

Nevertheless, a paternalist about smoking would think it justifiable forcibly to prevent people from smoking. Yale University Press, Libertarians deny that such interference is acceptable. They answer worries that libertarian paternalism will lead to more severe restrictions by treating this complaint as an ordinary “slippery-slope” argument. Libertarians need not deny obvious facts. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.


But a great deal of research, by both economists and psychologists, shows that the assumptions of the standard view cannot be retained in unmodified form.

Libertarian paternalism

This article is about the concept of liberal paternalism, which is sometimes described as a form of soft paternalism. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate.

Retrieved from ” https: The term was coined by behavioral economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein in a article in the American Economic Review.

Part of a series on Nudge theory Social scientists. It is indeed unlibertarian, they say, to use force to compel someone to act for his shnstein good.

Thaler and Sunstein suggest that we change the default position. There has been much criticism of the ideology behind the term, libertarian paternalism.

The authors make their case in part by rhetoric, not argument: His faulty reasoning does not count as part of his free choice. People often make mistakes in logic. Related concepts Behavioral economics Social proof Default effect Libertarian paternalism Sunsein architecture Social engineering Design for behaviour change.

True enough, the authors preach a mild doctrine.

The American Economic Review Those who wish to preserve liberty must take people’s actions as they find them, not substitute for them “better” or more “rational” actions, based on an assessment of what people “really” want.

Until recently, the default contribution rate for most tax-deferred liibertarian savings plans in the United States was zero, and despite the enormous tax advantages, many people took years to start contributing if they ever did.


Paternalists maintain that it is sometimes justifiable to interfere with someone’s freedom, if doing so will promote his own good. It is all right to render it difficult for people to make certain choices, as long as doing so does not impose substantial costs on them. Nudge theory in business.

Thus, they cannot be said “really” to choose to smoke. If you believe that defaults matter, on the other hand, you should want to set defaults at the level that you believe will be best for the largest number of people. Their proposal endeavors to be both libertarian and paternalistic: A smoker does not want a pack of cigarettes as an end in itself. What he “really” wants is that his preferences be fulfilled in the way best fitted to do so.

Given cases of this kind, their alternative ways of stating their proposal, i. Their escape from apparent contradiction is ingenious.

Libertarian paternalism is similar to asymmetric paternalism, which libertzrian to policies designed to help people who behave irrationally and so are not advancing their own interests, while interfering only minimally with people who behave rationally. If you do not want to do so, all you need to do is sign a statement to that effect.

Further, people’s ultimate goals are often not the concrete objects that they seek to obtain: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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