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Introduction: Motives and Methods

Péter Cserne

Chapter Chapter 1 in Freedom of Contract and Paternalism, 2012, pp 1-8 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract The problem of paternalism, an age-old subject in moral and political philosophy1 seems to be back in the midst of public policy discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. Sometimes called new paternalism,2 it is not so much about imposing on people what the government or the elite would consider the good way of life, not even about preventing individuals by coercive intervention from inflicting harm on themselves. Rather, new paternalism is said to be about designing policies to help individuals in overcoming their weakness of will, cognitive biases, and inconsiderateness, thus enabling them to make better choices in light of their own well-considered preferences. New paternalism is said to rely on new and solid empirical evidence, the findings of behavioral economics. The term also suggests that its normative conclusions, especially policy recommendations significantly differ from the antipaternalism of classical liberalism such as that of Kant’s or Mill’s.

Keywords: Behavioral Economic; Pareto Improvement; Contract Regulation; Legal Policy; Classical Liberalism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1057/9781137000323_1

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