18
Mar
15

Behavioral Welfare Economics, Libertarian Paternalism, and the Nudge Agenda

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Although behavioral economics was already firmly established as a subdisciplineof economics by the first decade of the twenty-first century, the enterprise ap-pears to have received a boost from the economic crisis that struck around then.As David Brooks put it in the New York Times: “My sense is that this financialcrisis is going to amount to a coming-out party for behavioral economists andothers who are bringing sophisticated psychology to the realm of public pol-icy.” Brooks is frequently described as a conservative, but commentators acrossthe political spectrum have blamed the crisis in part on inadequate economicmodels. The former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan is knownas a follower of Ayn Rand’s objectivism, which celebrates the value of rationalself-interest. Yet, in 2008 Congressional testimony, Greenspan said: “I made amistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banksand others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their ownshareholders and their equity in the firms.” Similarly, the Nobel laureate andliberal economic commentator Paul Krugman argues:[Economists] need to abandon the neat but wrong solution of assum-ing that everyone is rational and markets work perfectly. The visionthat emerges as the profession rethinks its foundations may not beall that clear; it certainly won’t be neat; but we can hope that itwill have the virtue of being at least partly right.

See on academia.edu



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