Projective Paternalism

110 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2019

See all articles by Sandro Ambuehl

Sandro Ambuehl

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

B. Douglas Bernheim

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Axel Ockenfels

University of Cologne - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

We study experimentally when, why, and how people intervene in others' choices. Choice Architects (CAs) construct opportunity sets containing bundles of time-indexed payments for Choosers. CAs frequently prevent impatient choices despite opportunities to provide advice, believing Choosers benefit. We consider several hypotheses concerning CAs' motives. A conventional behavioral welfarist acts as a correctly informed social planner; a mistakes-projective paternalist removes options she wishes she could reject when choosing for herself; an ideals-projective paternalist seeks to align others' choices with her own aspirations. Ideals-projective paternalism provides the best explanation for interventions in the laboratory and rationalizes support for actual paternalistic policies.

Keywords: paternalism, libertarianism, welfare economics, experiment, false consensus bias

JEL Classification: D030, D040, H000

Suggested Citation

Ambuehl, Sandro and Bernheim, B. Douglas and Ockenfels, Axel, Projective Paternalism (2019). CESifo Working Paper No. 7762. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3432810

Sandro Ambuehl (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

B. Douglas Bernheim

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-725-8732 (Phone)
650-725-5702 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Axel Ockenfels

University of Cologne - Department of Economics ( email )

Albertus Magnus Platz
Cologne 50923
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://ockenfels.uni-koeln.de/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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