Status Quo Bias, Rationality, and Conservatism about Value

Ethics 125 (2):449-476 (2015)
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Abstract

Many economists and philosophers assume that status quo bias is necessarily irrational. I argue that, in some cases, status quo bias is fully rational. I discuss the rationality of status quo bias on both subjective and objective theories of the rationality of preferences. I argue that subjective theories cannot plausibly condemn this bias as irrational. I then discuss one kind of objective theory, which holds that a conservative bias toward existing things of value is rational. This account can fruitfully explain some compelling aspects of common sense morality, and it may justify status quo bias.

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Jake Nebel
Princeton University

Citations of this work

The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability.Elizabeth Barnes - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Being Rational and Being Wrong.Kevin Dorst - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (1).
Contextual Injustice.Jonathan Ichikawa - 2020 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 30 (1):1–30.
Ethics Without Numbers.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

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References found in this work

New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
On Ethics and Economics.Amartya Sen - 1989 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 51 (4):722-723.

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