‘Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do!’ On the Intrinsic Value of Control

Forthcoming, Introduction, Behavioral Economics Guide 2017

8 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2017 Last revised: 1 Jun 2017

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: May 30, 2017

Abstract

For most people, control has some intrinsic value; people care about maintaining it and will pay something to do so. Whenever a private or public institution blocks choices or interferes with agency, some people will rebel, even if exercising control would not result in material benefits or might produce material harms. On the other hand, people sometimes want to relinquish control, because exercising agency is burdensome or costly. This essay explores when rational and boundedly rational people will prefer to maintain or exercise control and when they will prefer to delegate it. 

Keywords: control premium, Lockean Exclamation, intrinsic value, nudge, default rules

JEL Classification: D02, D03, D73, D87, D91, K00, K20

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., ‘Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do!’ On the Intrinsic Value of Control (May 30, 2017). Forthcoming, Introduction, Behavioral Economics Guide 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2896949

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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