Behavioral Economics and Liberty: The Role of the State


The emerging field of behavioral economics purports to show that economic actors often act contrary to the assumptions of the homo economicus model. It is still unclear, however, what the normative implications of this body of research are for the case for limited government. The colloquium delved into the details of this new research area, especially with regard to paternalism.


Conference Readings

Arneson, Richard J. “Mill versus Paternalism.” Ethics 90, no. 4 (July 1980): 470-489.

Beaulier, Scott and Bryan Caplan. “Behavioral Economics and Perverse Effects of the Welfare State.” Kyklos 60, no. 4 (2007): 485-507.

Berg, Nathan and Gerd Gigerenzer. “As-If Behavioral Economics: Neoclassical Economics in Disguise?” History of Economic Ideas 18, no. 1 (2010): 133-165.

Bloom, Paul. “First Person Plural.” The Atlantic 302, no. 4 (November 2008): 90-98.

Congdon, William J., Jeffrey R. Kling, and Sendhil Mullainathan. “Behavioral Economics and Tax Policy.” National Tax Journal 32, no. 2 (2009): 375-386.

Glaeser, Edward. “Psychology and the Market.” American Economic Review 94, no. 2 (2004): 408-413.

Glaeser, Edward L. “Paternalism and Psychology.” University of Chicago Law Review 73, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 133-156.

Hayek, F. A. “Economics and Knowledge.” Economica 4, no. 13 (1937): 33-54.

Hayek, F. A. New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Kahneman, Daniel. “Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economists.” American Economic Review 93, no. 5 (2003): 1449-1475.

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.

Leeson, Peter T. and J. Robert Subrick. “Robust Political Economy.” Review of Austrian Economics 19, no. 2 (2006): 107-111.

Levitt, Steven D. and John A. List. “Homo Economicus Evolves.” Science 319, no. 5865 (2008): 909-910.

Marlow, Michael L. and Sherzod Abdukadirov. “Can Behavioral Economics Combat Obesity?” Regulation 35, no. 2 (2012): 14-18.

Rizzo, Mario. “Nudging the State toward Better Behavior.” Adam Smith Institute Blog. (April 14, 2009).

Schelling, Thomas. “Ethics, Law, and the Exercise of Self-Command.” The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, University of Michigan, 1982.

St. Paul, Gilles. “The Welfare State and the Rise of Paternalism.” Montreal Review (September 2009): 1-8.

Thaler, Richard. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2015.

Thaler, Richard H. and Cass R. Sunstein. "Libertarian Paternalism." The American Economic Review 93, no. 2 (May 2003): 175-179.