Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One Post a Week and Different Readings for Next Week

I've concluded that doing a post for the week is going to improve things - my life if not yours. Then I'll read 490 posts over the weekend and 302 posts on Tuesday and not quite be as overwhelmed as I am now. Also you might be more thoughtful on your posts this way. So the original post will be due Friday night and the comments on Sunday.

To get on track you'll have to do a little more reading the rest of this week, but it shouldn't be too bad and I hope you will enjoy the change.

I'm also changing the content I had planned. Nudge isn't just about that people can have their behavior change by what classical economists would term insignificant changes in the economic environment. It is also about, maybe mainly about, the desirability of making such changes. So I want to get people critically ready for this.

So on Monday we will do straight paternalism and when it is that the State can and should compel people to do things and when the State should back off. We'll read two pieces on this track about education and compulsory schooling. First we'll read the piece by Amy Gutman, an unabashedly Liberal piece arguing the pro side of paternalism. Then we will read the opinion of written by the Chief Justice on the Supreme Court Case Wisconsin Versus Yoder, which I believe you'll find quite interesting in its arguments.

On Wednesday we'll read Sam Peltzman's piece on auto safety regulation. This is implicitly an argument against government regulation, not because paternalism is bad per se, but rather because of "the law of unintended consequences" and regulation may not produce the intended effects at all.

I do want you to see both types of arguments before we get into Nudge.


  1. Prof. Arvan: so we are still going to do two posts due this Friday and next Monday. Then next week we will do one post per week?

  2. No only one post per week from now on.