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Suboptimal paternalism: Ability, benevolence, and self-selection in choosing for others

Felix Sebastian Doessing and David Lassen ()
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Felix Sebastian Doessing: CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen

No 19-05, CEBI working paper series from University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI)

Abstract: Discussions about the legitimacy and welfare consequences of paternalistic interventions usually begin with the assumption that regulators are both benevolent and competent. We present experimental evidence that neither need be the case. In our experiment, individuals choose whether to restrict the choice of another participant and we see that regulation, on average, decreases choice efficiency. While more competent regulators are more likely to restrict choice sets in order to improve welfare for subjects when they use their regulatory privilige, selection into being an active regulator is unrelated to competence. The propensity for kind regulation is increasing in own competence, while the propensity for unkind regulation is both negatively related to own competence and positively related to the competence of the subject.

Keywords: Paternalism; choosing for others; risk preferences; beneficence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D60 D62 D64 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 65 pages
Date: 2019-09-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-gen
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:kud:kucebi:1905

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