Paternalism, Libertarianism, and the Nature of Disagreement
41 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 20, 2012
Regulation to protect individuals from self-harm, such as euthanasia prohibitions and safety mandates, is widespread but controversial. Opponents and proponents are often believed to differ in their valuation of individual liberty. We model an authority's decision to constrain or inform a population of agents prone to self-harm and propose an alternative view: A benevolent politician's decision to regulate an activity depends on whether she deems it a matter of preference or opinion. In the former case, she gives truthful advice and safeguards liberty; in the latter, she constrains liberty, believing that she acts in the population's interest.
Keywords: Paternalism, Libertarianism, Communication, Difference of opinion, Coercion
JEL Classification: D64, D78, D83, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation