Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Libertarian Paternalism

  • Samuel FereyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_301


In their famous book Nudge, published in 2008, Thaler and Sunstein popularize libertarian paternalism, one of the normative theories inspired by behavioral economics. Contrary to a large tradition in moral and political philosophy that dates back to John Stuart Mill, Sunstein and Thaler can see no inconsistency between paternalism and liberalism. We discuss this statement, and we illustrate libertarian paternalistic policies. Then, we deal with the descriptive, prescriptive, and normative consequences of libertarian paternalism for the law. Last, some of the main criticisms against libertarian paternalism are discussed.

Libertarian Paternalism and the Law: Taking Cognitive Bias Seriously

In an executive order dated September 15, 2015, and entitled “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve The American People,” American executive departments and agencies “are encouraged to […] design public policies in line with the findings of behavioral academic theoretical and...

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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, BETAUniversity of LorraineNancyFrance