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Escaping Paternalism

Escaping Paternalism
Rationality, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy

c.£90.00

Part of Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society

  • Publication planned for: November 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107016941

c.£ 90.00
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About the Authors
  • The burgeoning field of behavioral economics has produced a new set of justifications for paternalism. This book challenges behavioral paternalism on multiple levels, from the abstract and conceptual to the pragmatic and applied. Behavioral paternalism relies on a needlessly restrictive definition of rational behavior. It neglects nonstandard preferences, experimentation, and self-discovery. It relies on behavioral research that is often incomplete and unreliable. It demands a level of knowledge from policymakers that they cannot reasonably obtain. It assumes a political process largely immune to the effects of ignorance, irrationality, and the influence of special interests and moralists. Overall, behavioral paternalism underestimates the capacity of people to solve their own problems, while overestimating the ability of experts and policymakers to design beneficial interventions. The authors argue instead for a more inclusive theory of rationality in economic policymaking.

    • Offers a thorough analysis of the normative basis of standard economic rationality
    • Provides a reassessment of the empirical evidence of cognitive biases
    • Evaluates the policy proposals of behavioral economics
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: November 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107016941
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the rise of behavioral paternalism
    2. What is rationality?
    3. Rationality for puppets
    4. Preference biases
    5. The rationality of beliefs
    6. Deficient foundations for behavioral policymaking
    7. Knowledge problems in paternalist policymaking
    8. The political economy of paternalist policymaking
    9. Slippery slopes in paternalist policymaking
    10. Common threads, escape routes, and paths forward
    References
    Index.

  • Authors

    Mario J. Rizzo, New York University
    Mario J. Rizzo is a professor of Economics, Director of the Foundations of the Market Economy Program, and Co-Director of the Classical Liberal Institute at New York University. He is the co-author of Austrian Economics Re-Examined: The Economics of Time and Ignorance. He has published in such journals as Journal of Legal Studies, the Columbia Law Review and the UCLA Law Review.

    Glen Whitman, California State University, Northridge
    Glen Whitman is a professor of Economics at California State University, Northridge. He is the co-editor of Economics of the Undead: Zombies, Vampires, and the Dismal Science. He has published in such journals as the UCLA Law Review, the Journal of Legal Studies, and the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

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