In their famous book Nudge, published in 2008, Thaler and Sunstein popularize libertarian paternalism, one of the normative theories inspired by behavioral economics. Contrary to a large tradition in moral and political philosophy that dates back to John Stuart Mill, Sunstein and Thaler can see no inconsistency between paternalism and liberalism. We discuss this statement, and we illustrate libertarian paternalistic policies. Then, we deal with the descriptive, prescriptive, and normative consequences of libertarian paternalism for the law. Last, some of the main criticisms against libertarian paternalism are discussed.
Libertarian Paternalism and the Law: Taking Cognitive Bias Seriously
In an executive order dated September 15, 2015, and entitled “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve The American People,” American executive departments and agencies “are encouraged to […] design public policies in line with the findings of behavioral academic theoretical and...
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