Introduction: Symposium on Escaping Paternalism: Rationality, Behavioral Economics and Public Policy by Mario J. Rizzo and Glen Whitman

Cowen, Nicholas and Dold, Malte F. (2021) Introduction: Symposium on Escaping Paternalism: Rationality, Behavioral Economics and Public Policy by Mario J. Rizzo and Glen Whitman. Review of Behavioral Economics . ISSN 2326-6198

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Introduction: Symposium on Escaping Paternalism: Rationality, Behavioral Economics and Public Policy by Mario J. Rizzo and Glen Whitman
Pre-paginated accepted version of introductory and review essay on 'Escaping Paternalism'
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Abstract

Rizzo and Whitman’s Escaping Paternalism (2019) is, at once, a scholarly treatise on the nature of rationality and a powerful critique of the use of behavioral insights to support a new paternalism in public policy. Since its recent publication, it has informed research, among other things, into the decision processes of paternalist policymakers (Ambuehl, Bernheim, and Ockenfels 2021), the implications of dynamic preferences for tax policy (Delmotte and Dold 2021), and alternative theoretical grounds for behavioral policymaking (Sunstein 2021; Sugden 2021; Rizzo and Whitman 2021). Its theoretical depth has far-reaching implications for methodological discussions within behavioral economics and the scope of government action beyond contemporary policy debates. We are very grateful to the editor of the Review of Behavioral Economics for hosting this critical interdisciplinary discussion of the book. In this introduction, we briefly review the key arguments from Escaping Paternalism and then summarize the contributions to the symposium. The diverse views expressed therein show that Rizzo and Whitman’s critique of the methodological robustness of behavioral biases and their proposal of a “paternalism-resisting framework” is stimulating, but not uncontroversial. This special issue is an invitation to further engage with Rizzo and Whitman’s arguments and, in doing so, advance both the methodological debate about key concepts in behavioral economics (such as rationality, biases, internalities, or welfare) and the normative debate about the implications of behavioral insights for policymaking.

Keywords:paternalism, behavioral economic, nudge, biases, heuristics, public policy
Subjects:L Social studies > L430 Public Policy
L Social studies > L431 Health Policy
L Social studies > L100 Economics
L Social studies > L110 Applied Economics
L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
L Social studies > L231 Public Administration
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:46785
Deposited On:06 Oct 2021 10:47

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