Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-xfwgj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-13T16:42:32.624Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

8 - The Political Economy of Paternalist Policymaking

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2019

Mario J. Rizzo
Affiliation:
New York University
Glen Whitman
Affiliation:
California State University, Northridge
Get access

Summary

Real-world policymakers face pressure to take action, to legislate, and to attempt to solve problems even in imperfect ways. What kind of paternalistic policies can we reasonably expect policymakers to create? We argue that public-choice pressures will tend to produce suboptimal paternalistic policies, even if we assume behavioral paternalists’ conclusions about human behavior are generally correct. Rational ignorance, bureaucratic self-interest, concentrated benefits and diffuse costs, the influence of rent-seekers and moralists, and other factors will tend to shape policy in undesirable ways. If policymakers are susceptible to biases such as those attributed to regular people, the results could be even worse. Biases with the potential to adversely affect policymaking include action bias, overconfidence, confirmation bias, availability and salience effects, affect and prototype heuristics, and present bias. Because the political sphere offers weak incentives for the self-correction of biases, we expect such biases to be more significant in the public than in the private sphere.

Type
Chapter
Information
Escaping Paternalism
Rationality, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy
, pp. 309 - 348
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×