A Critical Assessment of Libertarian Paternalism
68 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 28, 2013
In this note I concisely present the main arguments advanced in "Taking Liberties" (2012). In particular, I look at the philosophical roots of libertarian paternalism. I examine whether the claims that it constitutes the "real Third Way" and that it always should be preferred to 'harder' forms of paternalism are justified, and I propose that interventions aimed at improving, rather than 'nudging', human cognitive abilities may be more consonant with a truly libertarian programme. I also discuss whether the easy reversibility of 'nudges', which is often mentioned as one of its most desirable features, is truly as important and effective as generally thought.
Keywords: libertarianism, paternalism, libertarian paternalism, theory of choice, nudging
JEL Classification: B10, H00, H40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation