*Escaping Paternalism*

The authors are Mario Rizzo and Glen Whitman, and the subtitle is Rationality, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy.  This is the most comprehensive, definitive attempt to respond to paternalism and nudge that I have seen, written from a (mostly) libertarian and partially Austrian perspective.  Excerpt:

In our discussion of preferences, the overriding theme was that preferences need not conform to rigid models.  We should countenance a much wider range of preferences, in both form and content, than economists have been inclined to accept.  But does the same permissive attitude apply to beliefs?…we will argue for a more permissive attitude towards beliefs.  Much like our position on preferences, our position on beliefs is that economists, and to a lesser extent other social scientists, have become slaves to an exceedingly narrow conception of both the function and operation of beliefs.

They argue for nudge as personal advice rather than as policy, and overall defend the John Stuart Mill tradition of limited paternalism at most.


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