Success conditions for nudges: a methodological critique of libertarian paternalism

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):1-20 (2014)
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This paper provides a methodological analysis of Libertarian Paternalism, as put forward in the book Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (Yale University Press, 2008). Libertarian Paternalism aims to use the accumulated findings of behavioural economics in order to assist decision-makers to make better choices. The philosophical debate about this proposal has focused on normative issues with regards to this proposal. This paper analyses Libertarian Paternalism descriptively and points out four methodological conditions for successful Nudges. On that basis, a methodological critique of Libertarian Paternalism is mounted: the success conditions suggest that Nudges might be even harder to implement and to justify than commonly assumed in the philosophical debate



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Conrad Heilmann
Erasmus University Rotterdam

References found in this work

The Ethics of Nudge.Luc Bovens - 2008 - In Mats J. Hansson & Till Grüne-Yanoff (eds.), Preference Change: Approaches from Philosophy, Economics and Psychology. Springer, Theory and Decision Library A. pp. 207-20.
Debate: To nudge or not to nudge.Daniel M. Hausman & Brynn Welch - 2009 - Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (1):123-136.
Picoeconomics.George Ainslie - 1992 - Behavior and Philosophy 20:89-94.
Salvaging the concept of nudge: Table 1.Yashar Saghai - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):487-493.

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