Response to Rabin

In Adam Oliver (ed.), Behavioural Public Policy. Cambridge University Press (2013)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
This chapter analyses the behavioural economist Matthew Rabin's work on biases in decision-making. Rabin argues that these biases cause self-harm and that we should tax individuals to ensure that they do not give in to these biases. The chapter's core question is whether there is a soft-paternalistic justification for these taxes. The answer is nuanced. It argues that Rabin’s description of these biases as “irrational” is not always appropriate—sometimes, for example, they are merely a form of preference change. When they are due to the latter, the behaviour is fully voluntary, and there exists no soft-paternalistic justification for coercive intervention. It also argues that even when these biases do lead to substantially non-voluntary choices, we should prefer policies that improve self-knowledge and self-control to taxes. However, the paper notes that Rabin’s analysis reveals circumstances under which these autonomy-enhancing strategies will not be effective. In such cases, and only in such cases, Rabin’s taxes have a soft paternalistic justification.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
First archival date: 2015-11-21
Latest version: 2 (2015-11-21)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
128 ( #18,842 of 38,085 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #26,622 of 38,085 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.