Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, “Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an The idea of libertarian paternalism might seem to be an oxymoron, but it is both. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN*. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be. Libertarian Paternalism. By RICHARD H. THALER AND CASS R. SUNSTEIN’. Many economists are libertarians and con- sider the term “paternalistic” to be.

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Libertarian paternalism is the idea that it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice, as well pafernalism the implementation of that idea. Grynbaum November 7, To devise a libertarian paternalism seems no more promising an endeavor than to construct a square circle.

Their proposal endeavors to be both libertarian and paternalistic: Choices in these circumstances, Thaler and Sunstein aver, are problematic: If you do not want to do so, all you need to do is sign a statement to that effect. If people do not “really” choose their actions, why not forcibly restrict them?

Let us return to those who, despite the health risks, continue to smoke.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Is it not obviously true that people often act impulsively or illogically, in ways that they later come to regret?


Loyalty program Safety culture. But not all cases are like this, as the transplants example illustrates. Will not the supposed libertarian policy defended here lead to much unnecessary unhappiness? Libertarian paternalism is similar to asymmetric paternalism, which refers to policies designed to help people who behave irrationally and so are not advancing their own interests, while interfering only minimally with people who behave rationally.

University of Chicago Law Review 70 4: View the discussion thread. Part of a series on Nudge theory Social scientists.

Libertarian paternalism – Wikipedia

It is also asymmetric in the second sense: Sometimes, though, the evidence for irrationality, taken in their libertrian textbook sense, is weak. But what if the purchaser has a strong aversion to paying for repairs when an appliance has broken down?

Are not libedtarian, even of the soft variety who confine their ministrations to nudges, substituting their preferences for the freely chosen decisions of others?

You were aware that I might do this and could easily have avoided my company.

Libertarian paternalism

People, as their title suggests, may be subject to paternalistic “nudges,” so long as these nudges do not coerce them. It is paternallsm right to render it difficult for people to make certain choices, as long as doing so does not impose substantial costs on them. To return to the transplant case, if the state says to people that their organs will be taken from them unless they explicitly direct otherwise, it is claiming to set forward the terms under which people can retain control of their own bodies.


Nevertheless, a paternalist about smoking would think it justifiable forcibly to pafernalism people from smoking.

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For other uses of “soft paternalism”, see paternalism. There has been much criticism of the ideology behind the term, libertarian paternalism.

Thaler and Sunstein may not share this preference, but their doing so is not a requirement of rationality in preferences. Smokers, research indicates, haven’t fully taken into account the heath risks of smoking. Rather, he wants certain feelings, e. The authors respond that this objection tgaler on an unrealistic view of choice.

A smoker does not want a libertarlan of cigarettes as an end in itself. This is hardly libertarian. Archived from the original on 4 July In current American law, people are free to direct that their organs be made available for transplants after they die.

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