How Hayekian is Sunstein’s behavioural economics?

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I comment on Sunstein’s paper proposing ‘Hayekian behavioural economics’. In essentials, Sunstein is merely re-naming a familiar approach to normative economics, initiated in Sunstein and Thaler’s seminal 2003 paper. I argue that this approach cannot fairly be described as in the spirit of Hayek’s work. Sunstein’s approach is based on a ‘constructivist’ conception of rationality that Hayek consistently criticized. Although Hayek and Sunstein both address ‘knowledge problems’, the two problems are fundamentally different. I develop what I claim are truly Hayekian critiques of Sunstein’s claim that fuel economy mandates can be more Hayekian than carbon taxes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Public Policy
Issue number1
Early online date27 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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