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Are behavioral interventions consonant with a free society? Rizzo and Whitman argue that behavioral interventions aimed at addressing self-harms are premised on an unrealistic neoclassical account of rationality. We show that the rejection of neoclassical assumptions is warranted but does not exhaust the case for what we call “soft interventionism.” Following Hayek’s emergent account of human action and defense of a defined role for legislation to address social challenges in commercial spontaneous orders, we argue that soft interventionism is a less intrusive form of state intervention to tackle the blurred boundaries between externalities and internalities. Nudges can be justified so long as the interventions are proportionate, based on subsidiarity, and scientifically informed.
Review of Behavioral Economics, Volume 8, Issue 3-4 Special Issue: Escaping Paternalism: Articles Overiew
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.