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6 - Deficient Foundations for Behavioral Policymaking

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2019

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

The policies recommended by behavioral paternalists rest on certain posited empirical facts or regularities about human behavior. Some of these supposed facts have not been established with much confidence. Specifically, psychological findings are highly context-specific, and thus lack the generality required for policymaking; generalizing quantitative results from the laboratory to the real world is unreliable; most existing research does not account adequately for incentives and learning; most existing research does not consider small-group debiasing; and most existing research does not adequately assess self-regulation and self-debiasing. Establishing reliable answers to these questions is a prerequisite for crafting and calibrating paternalistic policies with a reasonable expectation of improving welfare.

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Chapter
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Escaping Paternalism
Rationality, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy
, pp. 190 - 234
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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