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Somin Podcast for Cato: Nudging Paternalists

"Nudging Paternalists" is the title of a September 8 podcast by Professor Ilya Somin for the Cato Institute's Cato Daily Podcast program hosted by Caleb Brown. In it Somin discusses the differences between traditional paternalism, in which there is an assumption that the government knows best, and what is being called libertarian paternalism, in which there is a default rule that assumes an individual will opt for a particular choice unless he takes affirmative action otherwise. Libertarian paternalism may have a lesser effect in imposing values and a greater effect in eliminating some cognitive biases, says Somin.

Somin also discusses whether markets can provide the same function, as they, too, offer options for controlling cognitive biases. While the consumer may need expert opinion, Somin points out that there still exist the questions of who hires the experts, and who has the last word.

Professor Somin is a Cato Institute Adjunct Scholar. The Cato Daily Podcast is offered as a forum in which experts and scholars affiliated with the Cato Institute are able to comment on relevant news informally for the benefit of listeners.

Listen to the podcast