Liberalism and Lifestyle: Informing Regulatory Governance with Behavioural Research
The European Journal of Risk Regulation Vol. 1, pp.17 (2012)
19 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 11, 2012
Regulators around the world are attempting to reconcile the changing demands of 21st century economies with the insights two schools of thought, New Governance and Behavioural Economics, are offering. The common emerging theme, expressed by the UK and American administrations as well as in other democracies around the world, is that instead of focusing solely on substantive prohibitions and adversarial enforcement, regulation should centre on designing processes and systems through which private ordering and individual decision-making are directed and improved. In its ideal, social science research is apolitical. Studies in psychology and economics, whether empirical or theoretical, are neither progressive nor conservative. They are meant to improve our understandings of how society operates. This article responds to central concerns about the behavioural enthusiasm which has pervaded regulators around the world: the concern that the shift away from traditional regulation is in fact a shift away from regulation and public action to an era of devolution and deregulation; the concern that the behavioural interventions that are adopted are paternalistic in their intent to direct, or, more disturbingly, manipulate, the lifestyles of private individuals; and the concern that we know too little both about what consists of healthy lifestyles and about the psychology of decision-making for us to accept programmatic policies based on behavioural nudges in field of health policy.
Keywords: behavioral law and economics, risk regulation, new governance, health policy, regulation, administrative law, governance, judgment and decision-making, consumer protection
JEL Classification: K00, K2, L51, K32, I1, I18, H3, H51, A13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation