Paternalism and Psychology

8 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2006

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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An increasingly large body of evidence on bounded rationality has led many scholars to question economics' traditional hostility towards paternalism. But if individuals' ability to make rational decisions is limited, wouldn't some paternal overseer's ability also be limited - both because the overseers would be individuals and because they would be appointed by individuals? That flaw plagues both "hard" and "soft" paternalism; that is, paternalism that either mandates compliance or that allows individual "choice" at some cost.

Keywords: edward l. glaeser, economics, paternalism, economic paternalism, hard paternalism, soft paternalism, psychology, supply of error, manipulation, tax bans, public monitoring

JEL Classification: B25, B41, C91, C92, C93, D78, H59,

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L., Paternalism and Psychology. Regulation, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 32-38, Summer 2006 , Available at SSRN:

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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