Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Statist Quo Bias

by

Abstract

At first blush, Thaler and Sunstein seem to be proposing that voluntarily helping people to overcome or cope with their rash, ignorant, impulsive selves be called “libertarian paternalism.” Such semantics would only cause confusion and introduce new terminology for things already well served by ordinary language. Upon closer reading, however, we find that they maintain an unconventional distinction between coercive and non-coercive (or voluntary) action, while never making clear how they distinguish coercive from non-coercive action. I suggest that “libertarian paternalism” is really a depredation upon the very distinction between coercive and voluntary action.

in

Download this article

Volume (Issue)
Pages
260-271
Published
JEL classification
A13, D63, D91
Keywords
paternalism, libertarianism, dignity, coercion, liberty, freedom
Downloads
8691 article downloads
7954 complete issue downloads
Total: 16645

Discuss this article!