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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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Libertarian Paternalism

Libertarian Paternalism

(p.133) 7 Libertarian Paternalism
Government Paternalism

Julian Le Grand

Bill New

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the so-called nudge ideas based on libertarian paternalism and asymmetric paternalism, both of which seek to provide a practical approach to the trade-off between well-being and autonomy. Nudge policies are government interventions that seek to change the context in which people make choices—the “choice architecture”—so as to nudge them to make decisions in the direction that the government wants. “Libertarian” paternalism is paternalism because the policies involve government intervention in individual decision making with the intention of promoting the individual's own good, but libertarian because the individual maintains a range of choices similar to those that he/she had without the intervention. After considering the relevant definitions, the chapter considers the case for and against libertarian paternalism and concludes by highlighting the principal defense of libertarian paternalist policies: their effectiveness in terms of their impact on well-being and autonomy when compared to alternative paternalistic policies.

Keywords:   nudge ideas, libertarian paternalism, asymmetric paternalism, well-being, autonomy, nudge policies, intervention, choice architecture, decision making

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