What Motivates Paternalism? An Experimental Study
AbstractWe study experimentally when, why, and how people intervene in others' choices. Choice Architects (CAs) construct opportunity sets containing bundles of time-indexed payments for Choosers. CAs frequently prevent impatient choices despite opportunities to provide advice, believing Choosers benefit. They violate common behavioral welfare criteria by removing impatient options even when all pay-offs are delayed. CAs intervene not by removing options they wish they could resist when choosing for themselves (mistakes-projective paternalism), but rather as if they seek to align others' choices with their own aspirations (ideals-projective paternalism). Laboratory choices predict subjects' support for actual paternalistic policies.
CitationAmbuehl, Sandro, B. Douglas Bernheim, and Axel Ockenfels. 2021. "What Motivates Paternalism? An Experimental Study." American Economic Review, 111 (3): 787-830. DOI: 10.1257/aer.20191039
- C92 Design of Experiments: Laboratory, Group Behavior
- D12 Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- D15 Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving