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From libertarian paternalism to liberalism: behavioural science and policy in an age of new technology

Krpan, Dario ORCID: 0000-0002-3420-4672 and Urbaník, Milan (2024) From libertarian paternalism to liberalism: behavioural science and policy in an age of new technology. Behavioural Public Policy, 8 (2). 300 - 326. ISSN 2398-063X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/bpp.2021.40


Behavioural science has been effectively used by policy makers in various domains, from health to savings. However, interventions that behavioural scientists typically employ to change behaviour have been at the centre of an ethical debate, given that they include elements of paternalism that have implications for people’s freedom of choice. In the present article, we argue that this ethical debate could be resolved in the future through implementation and advancement of new technologies. We propose that several technologies which are currently available and are rapidly evolving (i.e., virtual and augmented reality, social robotics, gamification, self-quantification, and behavioural informatics) have a potential to be integrated with various behavioural interventions in a non-paternalistic way. More specifically, people would decide themselves which behaviours they want to change and select the technologies they want to use for this purpose, and the role of policy makers would be to develop transparent behavioural interventions for these technologies. In that sense, behavioural science would move from libertarian paternalism to liberalism, given that people would freely choose how they want to change, and policy makers would create technological interventions that make this change possible.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
T Technology > T Technology (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2022 10:48
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 20:45

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