Time for Behavioral Political Economy? An Analysis of Articles in Behavioral Economics

Reprint No. 2012:27

Author(s): Niclas BerggrenYear: 2012 Title: Review of Austrian Economics Volume (No.): 25 (3) Pages: 199–221
Online article (restrictions may apply)

This study analyzes leading research in behavioral economics to see whether it contains advocacy of paternalism and whether it addresses the potential cognitive limitations and biases of the policymakers who are going to implement paternalist policies. The findings reveal that 20.7% of the studied articles in behavioral economics propose paternalist policy action and that 95.5% of these do not contain any analysis of the cognitive ability of policymakers. This suggests that behavioral political economy, in which the analytical tools of behavioral economics are applied to political decision-makers as well, would offer a useful extension of the research program. Such an extension could be related to the concept of robust political economy, according to which the case for paternalism should be subjected to “worst-case” assumptions, such as policymakers being less than fully rational.

Berggren, Niclas (2012), "Time for Behavioral Political Economy? An Analysis of Articles in Behavioral Economics". Review of Austrian Economics 25(3), 199–221.

Niclas Berggren


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Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

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In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


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