Political Theory

The Welfare State, Libertarian Paternalism, and Individual Freedom


In this colloquium we considered arguments in favor of and against the welfare state and then considered if new arguments in favor of libertarian paternalism achieve their proposed goal of actually improving individual well-being through increased state action.


Conference Readings

Buchanan, James M. “Afraid to be free: Dependency as desideratum.” Public Choice 124 (2005): 19-31.

Dworkin, Gerald. Philosophy of Law. Edited by Joel Feirnberg and Hyman Gross. Encino: Dickenson Publishing Co., 1975.

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

Hayek, F. A. The Constitution of Liberty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. London: Longman, Roberts & Green, 1869.http://www.bartleby.com/130/2.html (accessed April 14, 2009).

Mises, Ludwig von. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2007.

Schmidtz, David and Robert E. Goodin. Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Thaler, Richard H. and Cass R. Sunstein. “Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an Oxymoron.” American Economic Review 93, no. 2 (May 2003): 175-179. http://www.rau.ro/intranet/Aer/2003/9302/93020175.pdf (accessed October 6, 2009).

Thaler, Richard H. and Cass R. Sunstein. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New York: Penguin Books, 2008.

Whitman, Douglas Glen and Mario J. Rizzo. “Paternalist Slopes.” New York University Journal of Law & Liberty 2 (2007): 411-443.