Little is known about the demand side of paternalism. We investigate attitudes towards paternalism among Danish students. The main question is whether demand for paternalism is related to self-control, either because people with self-control problems seek commitment devices to overcome these problems, or because people with good self-control want those who lack it to change their behaviours. We find no evidence linking self-control to attitudes towards weak forms of paternalism (e.g., nudges or information about health consequences). But respondents with good self-control are significantly more favourable towards strong paternalism (e.g., restricting choices or sin taxes) than those struggling with self-control.
Bulletin of Economic Research, 2014, p. 147-166
Commitment; Paternalism; Political attitudes; Regulation; Self-control