in: Social Science Research Network
Although the concept of soft paternalism succeeded in drawing attention to the importance of behavioral economics and the effects of „soft“ policy instruments as default rules for influencing behavior, it is argued in this article that soft paternalism can make only a very limited new contribution to consumer policy. „Soft“ policy (governance) instruments and behavioral economics insights can be used without soft paternalism. However, due to its normative vagueness, the concept of soft paternalism cannot offer anything new to the normative justification of paternalism in the case of trade offs with individual liberty, and under what circumstances „soft“ policy instruments should be favored compared to hard ones. Therefore a serious normative discussion about paternalism is still missing.