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  1. (Mis)Applications of Behavioral Economics to Regulation: The Importance of Public Choice Architecture [Download]

    Title: (Mis)Applications of Behavioral Economics to Regulation: The Importance of Public Choice Architecture
    Author: Smith, Adam C.
    Description: In this paper, I evaluate the recent promotion of libertarian paternalism as a viable means of coordinating market activities. In doing so, I challenge the notion that “anti-antipaternalism” logically follows from the findings in behavioral economics. For behavioral economic policy to be effective, advocates must show how policy will be rendered effectively through public institutions. I argue that the central dilemma of the field of behavioral law and economics is that it lacks analysis of the public choice architecture within which the improvement of private choice architecture would take place. Without an accompanying theory of the public institutions by which behavioral economic policy will be implemented, the promotion of these types of policy prescriptions is premature.
    Keywords: Regulation , Working Paper, Public Policy, Regulatory Studies, Behavioral Economics
    Date Uploaded: 12/14/2017
  2. Utilizing Behavioral Insights (without Romance): An Inquiry into the Choice Architecture of Public Decision-Making [Download]

    Title: Utilizing Behavioral Insights (without Romance): An Inquiry into the Choice Architecture of Public Decision-Making
    Author: Smith, Adam C.
    Description: Behavioral economics has been employed in a number of policy applications over the last decade. From energy requirements to tax compliance to consumer finance, policymakers are increasingly operating under the assumption that people consistently fail to make rational choices. While the benefit of this policy trend remains an open debate, behavioral economists have long neglected a complementary examination of public decision-makers themselves. By comparing two public agencies influenced by behavioral economics, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.K. Behavioral Insights Team, I show how different institutions create divergent policy outcomes across the two agencies in a way that cannot be accounted for without incorporating public choice theory. I argue that improvement of private choice architecture must be accompanied by careful understanding of the public choice architecture in which policies are rendered if behavioral economics is to be a successful foundation for welfare-improving policies.
    Keywords: Regulation , Working Paper, Behavioral Economics, Public Policy, Regulatory Studies, Regulatory Policy, Psychology
    Date Uploaded: 12/05/2017