Björn Bartling (University of Zürich)
Free to Fail? Paternalistic Preferences in the United States
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Abstract: We study paternalistic preferences in large-scale, incentivized experiments with participants sampled from the general population in the United States. In our experiments, participants in the role of a stakeholder make a mistake unless participants in the role of a spectator intervene. We provide causal evidence that the nature of the available intervention is of great importance for the spectators’ intervention decisions: ceteris paribus, a large majority do not intervene if the intervention restricts the stakeholder’s choice set, while a large majority intervene if it does not. We show that a concern for the stakeholder’s freedom of choice is the main reason for this difference,even though the spectators know that is the “freedom to fail.” Our results shed light on why the idea of libertarian paternalism has gained strong support in recent years.
- Date: 11 Oct 2021 16:00
- Ends: 11 Oct 2021 17:00
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