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Government PaternalismNanny State or Helpful Friend?$
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Julian Le Grand and BILL New

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164373

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164373.001.0001

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Paternalism in Practice

Paternalism in Practice

(p.41) 4 Paternalism in Practice
Government Paternalism

Julian Le Grand

Bill New

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the prevalence of paternalistic elements in existing government policies. It first considers the range of interventions that may be viewed as involving elements of government paternalism, including the provision of information, subsidies or other forms of positive financial incentives, and the imposition of legal restrictions, taxation or other forms of negative financial incentives. It then describes various nonpaternalistic justifications for state intervention and a number of ways in which they fail satisfactorily to provide an adequate basis for particular policies. In particular, it discusses efficiency, market failures, and the harm principle as well as equity. The chapter identifies paternalistic motivations as the most plausible explanation for many currently existing laws, regulations, and other government activities that promote well-being.

Keywords:   government policies, intervention, government paternalism, subsidies, efficiency, market failure, harm principle, equity, motivation, well-being

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