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The Foundations of Positive and Normative EconomicsA Hand Book$
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Andrew Caplin and Andrew Schotter

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328318.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2021

The Economist as Therapist: Methodological Ramifications of “Light” Paternalism

The Economist as Therapist: Methodological Ramifications of “Light” Paternalism

(p.210) Chapter 9 The Economist as Therapist: Methodological Ramifications of “Light” Paternalism
The Foundations of Positive and Normative Economics



Oxford University Press

As people consider quality and price in deciding what to buy and where to buy stuff, and make other such decisions in consumption, economic behavior is perceived to entail rationality and self-interest. However, there is a side of human behavior that seems to neglect rationality and tends to evoke self-destruction. Such behavior is displayed through making unstable investments, gambling, and activities that involve health risks such as smoking, excessive drinking, and even overeating that leads to obesity. An increasing number of economists are encouraged to look into the ability of people to perform reliable methods that show self-interest because of the developments and new findings in behavioral-economics research. This chapter examines paternalism and how certain acts can be attributed to externalities and internalities.

Keywords:   economic behavior, rationality, self-destructive, health risks, paternalism, externalities, internalities

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