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Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, “Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN*. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN’. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be.

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Thus, they cannot be said “really” to choose to smoke. For other uses of “soft libertarina, see paternalism. The authors do not point out that this is not a case of paternalism, libertarian or otherwise, since prospective donors are nudged for what is taken to be the general good, rather than their own.

Libertarian paternalism – Wikipedia

View the discussion thread. Setting the default in order to exploit the default effect is a typical example of a soft paternalist policy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Thaler and Sunstein may not share this preference, but their doing so is not a requirement of rationality in preferences. Choices in these circumstances, Thaler and Sunstein aver, are problematic: Will not the supposed libertarian policy defended here lead to much unnecessary unhappiness?

Libertarian Paternalism | Mises Institute

Richard Epstein has written a detailed response to many of the arguments for irrationality that Thaler has advanced on previous occasions: Libertarian terms Political philosophy Political theories Social philosophy Neologisms. It is indeed unlibertarian, they say, to use force to compel someone to act for his own good. Given cases of this kind, their alternative ways of stating their proposal, i. Even if one grants as of course they would not kibertarian their scheme threatens liberty, it has not been shown that their view of choice is wrong.


There is a problem here that Thaler and Sunstein fail to note.

Nudge theory in business Loyalty program Safety culture. There seems nothing “irrational” about this preference, but if someone has it, purchasing the extended warranty makes sense. But what if the purchaser has a strong aversion to paying for repairs when an libertaarian has broken down?

Thaler and Sunstein have set themselves a seemingly impossible task. Are not paternalists, even of the soft variety who confine their ministrations to nudges, substituting their preferences for the freely chosen decisions of others? Archived from the original on paternlism July So far, I have not questioned the evidence Thaler and Sunstein offer that people act irrationally but have instead tried to show that, accepting their evidence, their case for libertarian paternalism has not been established.

They suggest that influencing choice is unavoidable: If you believe that defaults matter, on the other hand, you should want to set defaults at the level that you believe will be best for the largest number of people. It is libertarian in the sense that it aims to ensure that “people should be free to opt out of specified arrangements if they choose to do so” p.

Thaler and Sunstein might respond in this way: He cannot avoid the choice altogether, so long as he wishes to offer the plan. Not all cases of using force on people impose substantial costs on them.

Libertarian paternalism

Force may be used only in response to aggression. An obvious objection to their proposals arises, and their efforts to respond to this objection form the theoretical substance of the book. Smokers, putting aside the issue of secondary smoke, do not violate others’ rights: People, as their title suggests, may be subject to paternalistic “nudges,” so long as these nudges do not coerce them.


Thaler and Sunstein are right to think that the standard model is flawed, but they themselves remain too much its prisoner. True enough, pzternalism authors preach a mild doctrine. Libertarian paternalism is a relatively weak, soft, and nonintrusive type of paternalism because choices are not blocked, fenced off, or significantly burdened.

Nudge theory in business. Libertarians deny that such interference is acceptable. His faulty reasoning does not count as part of his free choice. People often do regret their choices. For example, it has been argued that it fails to appreciate the traditional libertarian concern with coercion in particular, and instead focuses on freedom of choice in a wider sense.

Ptaernalism not all cases are like this, as the transplants example illustrates.

Here, I have not imposed a substantial cost on you, but I have nevertheless used force against you. Yale University Press, Suppose that you are about to reach for a cigarette, and I hold your wrist to prevent you from doing so. This is hardly libertarian. This article is about the concept of liberal paternalism, which is sometimes described as a form of soft paternalism.

You were aware that I might do this and could easily have avoided my company. Skepticism and Freedom University of Chicago Press, The New York Times.