LIBERTARIAN PATERNALISM IS NOT AN OXYMORON PDF

I'm reminded of the Maori Party's proposal that Maori voters be automatically enrolled on the Maori roll with the option of opting out. That's quite close to your reducto ad absurdum - they're not quite opting you in to voting for the Maori Party, but they are opting you in to creating more seats for the Maori Party to win. Though it's possible that this will be negated by adding new voters who are probably less inclined to support the Maori Party. Oh wow.

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Phone: Fax: Mailto:mholme uchicago. File name Acrobat File. All Rights Reserved. CASS R. Often people's preferences are ill-formed, and their choices will inevitably be influenced by default rules, framing effects, and starting points. In these circumstances, a form of paternalism cannot be avoided.

Equipped with an understanding of behavioral findings of bounded rationality and bounded self-control, libertarian paternalists should attempt to steer people's choices in welfare-promoting directions without eliminating freedom of choice. It is also possible to show how a libertarian paternalist might select among the possible options and to assess how much choice to offer.

Examples are given from many areas, including savings behavior, labor law, and consumer protection.

Keywords: paternalism, savings, behavioral economics, libertarianism. Suggested Citation Sunstein, Cass R. May 09, Adobe Acrobat Reader v4. To obtain your free copy, click on the Acrobat button.

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Libertarian paternalism

Academic journal article Northwestern University Law Review. In Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an Oxymoron, Professors Sunstein and Thaler set out to show that state control over the structure of choice options can improve the welfare of citizens without reducing personal autonomy. Sunstein and Thaler's prototypical example of a libertarian paternalist policy is a k plan with the default option set to automatic enrollment to encourage participation but that permits employees to opt-out of default enrollment. As Sunstein and Thaler emphasize, because a default must be chosen, and because many individuals are likely to remain irrationally with the default option, it is better to set the default to the welfare-enhancing choice than to be blind to the power of the default. So long as individuals remain free to deviate from the default option, they argue, the libertarian should not be troubled by this weak form of paternalism. In this Essay, I discuss three defects present in the argument for libertarian paternalism: 1 a logical error and empirical oversight in the claim that paternalism is inevitable in situations where preferences exhibit irrational sensitivity to the choice frame; 2 a failure to justify the choice of welfare over liberty as the value guiding the paternalistic side of libertarian paternalism; and 3 a neglect of the redistributive effects of libertarian paternalism. Consideration of the third defect reveals that any form of libertarian paternalism, even the more truly libertarian paternalism proposed in Parts I and II below, may lead to a redistribution of resources from rational to irrational persons that cannot be reconciled with the libertarian prohibition on state-based takings for any purpose other than remedying involuntary exchanges.

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A Critical Assessment of Libertarian Paternalism

Please be a ware that orks in pr e recent version of thi s article m ay be a vailable on C hicago Unbound , SSRN or e lsewhere. Th Theory Working Paper No. It has be orking Papers at Chicago Unbound ized admini hicago Unbound. Sunstein and Richard H. Thaler Abstract The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice. It is also possible to show how a libertarian paternalist might select among th e possible options and to assess how much any areas, including savings behavior, labor choice to offer. Examples are given from m law, and consumer protection.

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Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an Oxymoron

This article tries to show that there are many cases in which there are no determinate preferences for public or private policies to follow or match. This could be because we have no stable preferences at all or because our preferences are influenced by the policies under consideration. Non-paternalistic policies do not do this. Thaler and Sunstein argue that there is a class of paternalistic policies that are on an equal footing with non-paternalistic ones when it comes to manipulating choices and preferences.

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Libertarian Paternalism Is an Oxymoron

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Sunstein and Richard H. Sunstein , Richard H. Thaler Published Economics. The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice.

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