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In recent years, a novel, specifically institutional approach to public regulation has become popular, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world: ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ promises to tackle society’s problems in a way that increases welfare without compromising people’s freedom and autonomy. The key instrument advanced by this programme is nudges. Although nudges’ ethical quality has been discussed at length, the political economy driving their implementation by self-interested (and possibly boundedly rational) policy makers and bureaucrats has been largely neglected so far. This paper in the Journal of Institutional Economics (2017) elaborates on how this gap might be filled.

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