This paper reviews the case for libertarian paternalism presented by Thaler and Sunstein in Nudge. Thaler and Sunstein argue that individuals' preferences are often incoherent, making paternalism is unavoidable; however, paternalistic interventions should 'nudge' individuals without restricting their choices, and should nudge them towards what they would have chosen had they not been subject to specific limitations of rationality. I argue that the latter criterion provides inadequate guidance to nudgers. It is inescapably normative, and so allows nudgers' conceptions of well-being to override those of nudgees. Even if nudgees' rationality were unbounded, their revealed preferences might still be incoherent.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of the Economics of Business
|Published - 1 Nov 2009
- Libertarian Paternalism
- Soft Paternalism